It’s hard to believe that in less than a year, the Olympics will be upon us. Jolly old London town will finish its multiyear face lift to its athletic facilities. A fantastic article by Hakan Yener considers this Olympics to be possibly the greenest stadium ever. At least since the Hellenistic era.
Designed by Populous and Peter Cook, the London Olympic Stadium seats 88,000 people. Placed on a manmade island on the River Lea, it is understood to be one of the most expensive stadiums in the UK. Construction ended close to three months ago, capping a beautiful construction in Northeast London. Yet a great stadium is never built for just one use.
Which leads to the question: What comes next?
First are the locals. Football clubs across London have expressed interest in the new stadium, two formally lodged bids, one has won, and three clubs complained about the result. West Ham United, one of the oldest clubs in England with some of the most passionate fans in London, won the bid to leave their Upton Park and renovating the Olympic stadium to fit 62,000 local fans. Rivals Tottenham Hotspur have asked for a judicial investigation of the bid when news broke that a member of the bid committee had a “personal relationship” with West Ham officials. Local club Leyton Orient has also objected and if they bid could pull some weight due to their proximity. This isn’t just business, its bragging rights as well.
International intrigue also surrounds this recently constructed pitch. The NFL has expressed interest in the past to expand their brand overseas. Specifically, a London franchise has been ballyhooed for years by NFL officials and several games have been played (and will be played) at Wembley Stadium. With no formal bid, the Yankee dream seems destined to remain exactly that.
We’ll find out who wins in a few months, but if West Ham messes this up… I won’t be that surprised.