Hammers’ bid to bring fans closer to the action



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London Stadium new seating area Image: MJR Group Ltd. / Coliseum

New seating systems will be developed in the north and south of the multifunctional London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

UK-headquartered turnkey event solutions provider Arena Events Group plc has bagged the contract with E20 Stadium LLP, owners of the facility, to develop new seating systems in the north and south of the arena.

The home ground of the English professional football club West Ham United will see two new lower tier stands coming up thus bringing 6,000 fans to four meters closer to the pitch than what the current system permits.

The stand will be squared-off in line with a more traditional football stadium configuration behind the goals.

The entire process has got rolling following West Ham United’s announcement in February 2019 that, along with London Stadium, “we were exploring some changes to improve the seating and experience of supporters in the Sir Trevor Brooking and Bobby Moore Stands”.

Arena Events Group plc feels that the designs will lend and exude a traditional “kop” feel to the seating arrangement for sports revolving around the pitch, such as football. This will help to enhance the game day experience for supporters.

The system will also give more room to fans to move seats between events and thus help in the cost-cutting exercise in the 80,000-capacity arena.

The move comes following a period of design development to inform the brief between E20 and West Ham United. In February 2019, the inceptive designs were presented to the club’s Official Supporters’ Board. Arena, E20 and West Ham United will seek advice from them again to learn about the more detailed designs with the aim of positioning the seats this summer. They will also look to present the latest plans later this month for discussion and consultation and to explore the opportunities the new seating configuration presents to further enhance the match day experience and incorporate yet further the famous Claret and Blue at the stadium. The club gives the thoughts of the supporters due weightage and will give them the opportunity to provide feedback to all parties before design work continues.

Stated Lyn Garner, Chief Executive of London Legacy Development Corporation, “We are delighted to have appointed Arena and look forward to working with them and West Ham United over the coming months. Our investment in the new stands will improve fans’ match day experience and deliver significant efficiencies in the running of London Stadium.”

Greg Lawless, CEO of Arena Group, commented, “We are pleased to be entering into a long-term agreement with E20 to provide a truly flexible seating solution that enhances the legacy of the London Stadium. Yet again this shows the strength of our innovation and project management in delivering a value-enhancing solution to our customers.”

Following a period of design development, E20 and West Ham United will review the stands with the aim of installing the seats this summer.

Keeping in tune with the Board’s commitment, the West Ham United is always devising new strategies to give fans bang for their bucks on match day at every level.

The Hammers’ fans have always sulked over the seating arrangement at London Stadium, stating it detracts from the atmosphere on match days.

The £486 million London Stadium was built for the 2012 Olympics and after being converted into a football ground at a reported cost of £323million, the West Ham United became the primary tenants in August 2016.

Many Hammers fans were reluctant to leave their previous home at Upton Park and have always complained about not having a great experience on match day in London Stadium.

The spectators say that the distance between the seats and the pitch is a bit too much, transport links to the venue leave much to be desired, and the same also counts for the toilet and catering facilities in some areas.

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