Olympic Stadium (London)

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This article is about the 2012 Olympic stadium. For the 1908 Olympic stadium, see White City Stadium. For the 1948 Olympic stadium, see Wembley Stadium (1923).
"London Stadium" redirects here. For the stadium on the same site prior to the 2012 Olympics, see Hackney Wick Stadium.
London Stadium
Olympic Stadium
FloodlitLondonStadium.jpg
The stadium in July 2015
Former names London 2012 Olympic Stadium
The Stadium
Location Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Stratford
London, E20
England
Coordinates 51°32′19″N 0°00′59″W / 51.53861°N 0.01639°W / 51.53861; -0.01639Coordinates: 51°32′19″N 0°00′59″W / 51.53861°N 0.01639°W / 51.53861; -0.01639
Owner Greater London Authority
Operator London Stadium 185
Capacity Athletics layout: 60,000
Football layout: 60,000
Concert layout (and olympics 2012): 80,000[1]
Surface Grass (Desso GrassMaster), Track (Mondo)[2]
Construction
Broke ground 2007
Built 2008–2011
Opened 2011
Renovated 2013–2016
Construction cost £486 million[3]
(£534 million in 2016 pounds[4])
Architect Populous
Structural engineer Buro Happold
Services engineer Buro Happold
Main contractors Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty (Conversion)
Tenants
West Ham United (2016–)
British Athletics (2015–)
Website
london-stadium.com

London Stadium,[5] commonly known as the Olympic Stadium, is a stadium in Stratford, London, England, at Marshgate Lane in the Lower Lea Valley. It was constructed to serve as the home stadium for the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, hosting the track and field events and opening and closing ceremonies. It was subsequently renovated as a multi-purpose stadium, with its primary tenants being West Ham United Football Club and British Athletics. The stadium is 6 12 miles (10.5 km) from Central London, and seven minutes from the London St. Pancras rail station via Stratford International Highspeed rail services.

Land preparation for the stadium began in mid-2007, with the official construction start date on 22 May 2008, although piling works for the foundation began four weeks before. The stadium held its first public event in March 2012, serving as the finish line for a celebrity running event organised by the National Lottery.[6] Following the Paralympics the stadium was used intermittently whilst under renovation, before re-opening in July 2016 with a capacity of 60,000.[7] The decision to make West Ham United the main tenants was controversial, with the initial tenancy process having to be rerun.

As well as its regular tenants, the stadium will continue to be used for a series of special events. The stadium hosted several 2015 Rugby World Cup matches, one test match of a tri-series between England Rugby League and New Zealand Rugby League in November 2015, and will host both the 2017 IAAF World Championships in Athletics and the 2017 World ParaAthletics Championships, the first time both events have been held in the same location consecutively.

Design and construction[edit]

The Stadium in 2012, just before the Olympic Games

Olympic design[edit]

Design Brief[edit]

During London's bid for the games, promotional materials featured a main stadium with a roof "designed to wrap itself around the venue like muscles supporting the body.",[8] however at that time there had been no formal design brief agreed. While the bidding process was ongoing West Ham had talks[9] with the ODA about contributing to the development of a multi-purpose stadium, should London win the bid.[10] The government preferred to produce a brief for an athletics only stadium which would be largely disassembled after the games with the lower tier remaining in place as a permanent athletics facility to replace the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. With the original Olympic design finalised and being built, the government had a change of heart and a bidding process for a multi-sport post-Olympic legacy was launched.

On 13 October 2006, London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games confirmed that it had selected Sir Robert McAlpine and Populous to start exclusive negotiations with, to fulfil the eventual design and build contract of the new Olympic Stadium after no other organisations met the bidding criteria.[11][12] The stadium design was launched on 7 November 2007.

Structure details[edit]

The construction of the stadium commenced three months early in May 2008 after the bowl of the stadium had been dug out and the area cleared.[13][14] The building of the stadium was completed in March 2011 reportedly on time and under budget,[15] with the athletics track laid in October 2011.[3]

Exploded view of the stadium's layers

The stadium's track and field arena is excavated out of the soft clay found on the site, around which is permanent seating for 25,000, built using concrete "rakers". The natural slope of the land is incorporated into the design, with warm-up and changing areas dug into a semi-basement position at the lower end. Spectators enter the stadium via a podium level, which is level with the top of the permanent seating bowl. A demountable lightweight steel and pre-cast concrete upper tier is built up from this "bowl" to accommodate a further 55,000 spectators.[16]

The Olympic Stadium interior

The stadium is made up of different tiers; during the Games the stadium was able to hold 80,000 spectators. The base tier, which allows for 25,000 seats, is a sunken elliptical bowl that is made up of low-carbon-dioxide concrete; this contains 40 percent less embodied carbon than conventional concrete.[17] The foundation of the base level is 5,000 piles reaching up to 20 metres (66 ft) deep. From there, there is a mixture of driven cast in situ piles, continuous flight auger piles, and vibro concrete columns. The second tier, which holds 55,000 seats, is 315 m (1,033 ft) long, 256 m (840 ft) wide, and 60 m (197 ft) high.[18] The stadium contains just under a quarter of the steel as the Olympic Stadium in Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics, approximately 10,700 tonnes (11,800 short tons). In addition to the minimal use of steel, which makes it 75 percent lighter[clarification needed], the stadium also uses high-yield large diameter pipes which were surplus on completion of North Sea Gas pipeline projects, recycled granite, and many of the building products were transported using trains and barges rather than by lorry.[19]

The Olympic Stadium during the 2012 Summer Olympics

A wrap, funded by Dow Chemical Company in return for being able to advertise on the wrap until 26 June 2012, covered the exterior during the Olympics. The wrap was made from polyester and polyethylene, and printed using UV curable inks.[20] The wrap was made of pieces of material that covered 20 metres (66 ft) high and 900 metres (1,000 yd) in length. The final design for the wrap consisted of 2.5-metre-wide (8 ft) fabric panels, twisted at 90-degree angles to allow entry to the stadium at the bottom of the structure, and held in place with tensioned cables.[21][22]

To allow for fast on-site assembly, compression truss and roof column connections were bolted; this enabled easy disassembling of the roof structure after the closing ceremonies.[23] The cable-supported roof structure covers approximately two-thirds of the stadium's seating.[24] Reaching 70 metres (230 ft) above the field of play, the stadium roof held 14 lighting towers, or paddles, that collectively contained a total of 532 individual 2 kW floodlight lamps. The lights were first officially switched on in December 2010 by Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson.[25] During the games, the towers were fitted with additional ceremony lighting, and 4 of the 14 towers held large temporary video screens.[26]

Stadium interior[edit]

Lighting paddle which was connected to every seat (left) and what it can create (right).

The stadium was equipped with a nine lane Mondo 400 metres athletics track.[27] The turf in the stadium was grown in Scunthorpe and was a mix of perennial ryegrass, smooth stalk meadow grass and fescue grass seeds. It took 360 rolls of grass to cover the infield and was laid in March 2011.[28] The track was designed by Italian company Mondo, and was their latest version of the Mondotrack FTX.[2][27][29]

[30]

The stadium's 80,000 seats had a black and white 'fragment' theme that matched the overall branding design used by LOCOG for London 2012. The lines all centred on the finish line in the stadium.[22] The seats were made in Luton and were fitted between May and December 2010.[31] During the Games, the Stadium's grandstands contained a lighting system developed by Tait Technologies that allowed them to function as a giant video screen. Individual "paddles" containing nine LED pixels each were installed between each seat of the stadium, which were controlled via a central system to display video content wrapped around the stadium. The system was primarily intended for use during the ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics – over 70 minutes of animated content were used during the Olympics' opening ceremony.[32]

Response[edit]

The stadium design received a mixed response from the media, with reviews ranging from "magnificent" to a "bowl of blancmange".[33] The design was promoted as example of "sustainable development", but some architecture critics have questioned both its aesthetic value and suitability as a national icon – especially when compared to Beijing National Stadium. For example, Ellis Woodman, Building Design's architecture critic, said of the design: "The principle of it being dismountable is most welcome... it demonstrates an obvious interest in establishing an economy of means and as such is the antithesis of the 2008 Olympic stadium in Beijing. But while that's an achievement, it's not an architectural achievement. In design terms what we're looking at is pretty underwhelming." He went on to criticise the procurement and design processes – stating of the latter that it should have been subject to an architectural competition.[34] This view was echoed by Tom Dyckhoff, The Times's architecture critic, who described the design as "tragically underwhelming" and commented that the "architecture of the 2008 and 2012 Olympics will, in years to come, be seen by historians as a "cunning indicator of the decline of the West and the rise of the East".[35] Despite the criticism the Olympic Stadium was nominated for the 2012 Stirling Prize in architecture losing out to the Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.[36][37]

Amanda Baillieu writing in Building Design challenged the designer's claims that the stadium is environmentally sustainable and good value for money. Instead, it is asserted that the reality will be the opposite. In particular, she claimed that:

  • the temporary roof could not be reused to cover the permanent 25,000 seating area – given the difference in size;
  • it is unlikely that the removed seating would be wanted for any other event e.g. the Glasgow Commonwealth Games; and
  • the costs involved in dismantling the stadium – and surrounding "pods" – has not been factored into the estimated cost.[38]
  • The cost of £537 million compared to cost of 1908 Olympic Stadium £60,000 (£5.6 million in 2010).[39]

Stadium island[edit]

The Olympic Stadium site under construction in October 2009

The stadium site is on former industrial land between the River Lea (which rejoins the Navigation below Old Ford Lock), the City Mill River, and the Old Pudding Mill River; parts of the Bow Back Rivers.[40] Another branch of this system, St Thomas' Creek, 200 metres (660 feet) to the south, completes an "island" surrounded by water.[22][41] 200 metres (660 feet) to the east is the Waterworks River; with the London Aquatics Centre on its eastern bank. This "island" site for the stadium lies at the southern end of the Olympic Park.[22] To make room for the stadium, the already partially obstructed Pudding Mill River, a short channel of the Lea which ran from the west side of the stadium south-eastwards across the stadium site, was filled in.

Post-Olympic redevelopment[edit]

Dennis Hone, chief executive of the LLDC, revealed in November 2012 that the stadium would not meet its reopening deadline of 2014. Instead the stadium would reopen in August 2015 with the stadium retaining a capacity of around 50,000 for athletics.[42] Following the granting, in March 2013, of a 99-year tenancy to West Ham United, the E20 LLP, a joint organisation by the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council were specifically set-up to oversee redevelopment of the stadium into a UEFA Category 4 venue seating 60,000 spectators. The reconfiguration saw work on a new roof, corporate areas, toilets, concessions and retractable seating. West Ham contributed £15 million and Newham Council £40 million for the work to be carried out with the LLDC and the British Government making up the rest.[43][44] Approval was granted for the installation of retractable seating on all sides of the stadium and an 84 metres (92 yd) transparent roof.[45][46]

The Olympic Stadium during its renovation minus a roof and floodlights and a crane visible.

Balfour Beatty were initially contracted to construct the new roof for £41 million; in January 2014 they were awarded a £154 million tender, which includes the earlier contract for the roof, to complete the stadium's transformation works.[47][48][49] Imtech G&H were awarded a £25 million contract to carry out electrical and plumbing work.[50][51] Paul Kelso, working for Sky News, discovered in September 2014 that the cost of the conversion of the stadium may rise by £15 million, due to additional work to strengthen the structure, to allow it to support the new roof.[52] It was revealed neither West Ham United nor the taxpayer would have to meet the additional cost as Balfour Beatty would contribute with the remainder funded from the existing LLDC transformation budget of the Olympic Park.[53] In October 2014, the LLDC contributed a further £35.9 million towards the project with the funding coming from reserves and income generated by other means.[54]

Work commenced on 13 August 2013 with the removal of 25,000 seats and the grass from the field of play.[55][56] The athletics track was covered with a 75 cm (30 in) layer of recycled concrete to protect it during the heavy lifting.[57] In November 2013 work commenced to remove the fourteen floodlight panels as part of the £200 million conversion of the stadium.[58] In March 2015 work began on installing the new floodlights. Each floodlight panel is 18 metres (59 ft) tall and weighs 45 tonnes (50 short tons), and will sit 30 metres (98 ft) above the stadium's floor, suspended from the roof rather than sitting on top; in total there are 14 panels. As the floodlight work began, work on a steel halo structure that encircles the stadium, containing 96 turnstiles, catering and toilet facilities, concluded.[59]

The black and white seating design from the Olympics, was replaced with a white, blue and claret design. The new design includes West Ham's name on the East Kop Stand and symbolic crossed hammers on all lower tier stands, and the retention of the 2012 shard design on the upper tier, albeit in new colouring to match the Stadium's anchor tenant.[60] Work continued through 2016 to transform the stadium into a home for West Ham, with the club's colours and giant model West Ham shirts added to the stadium concourse.[61] A West Ham store and coffee shop was opened on 23 June.[62]

Playing surface[edit]

The red Mondo 400-metre athletics track used for the London 2012 games was laid in August 2011 and is 13.5 mm (0.5 in) thick. It uses two vulcanised rubber layers, one of which is a cushioning underside with elongated diamond-shaped cells, which allows them to flex in any direction.[63] During the four London 2012 ceremonies, the track was protected via synthetic covering. For the stadium's transformation, the track was protected from construction work for the 2015 events by covering it with a plastic sheet layer and burying it under 75 cm (30 in) of soil. The surface was removed in early 2016 and a new surface, using MondoTrack W/S was laid that May for the stadium's long term use. The grass playing field was lengthened by several metres at either end for the 2015 rugby matches to fit a suitably-sized rugby pitch, and was reseeded with a Desso GrassMaster artificial-natural hybrid pitch approved for Premier league matches of 105 by 68 metres (115 by 74 yd), ready for West Ham.[64]

Community track[edit]

Following the demolition of the 2012 warm up track and to comply with IAAF rules requiring a warm up track at Construction Category 1 facilities a new 6 lane community track will be created immediately adjacent to the south of the Olympic Stadium. The track will be home to Newham and Essex Beagles Athletic Club and will be open for around 250 days of the year.[65][66][67] The construction of the track was funded by a grant from the London Marathon Trust.[68]

London 2012[edit]

David Rudisha of Kenya setting a World Record for the 800 metres in the Olympic final.

The Olympic Stadium hosted its first public event on 31 March 2012, serving as the finish line for the National Lottery Olympic Park Run. Five thousand participants (including celebrities, British athletes, and members of the public who won a drawing organised by the National Lottery) partook in a five-mile run around Olympic Park, entering Olympic Stadium to the theme from Chariots of Fire to run the final 300 metres on its track.[6] The stadium hosted two warm up events for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as part of the London Prepares Series. The venue hosted the British Universities Athletics Championships and the London Disability Grand Prix in May 2012.[69][70] On 6 May around 40,000 people attended for an event entitled 2,012 hours to go an evening of athletics and entertainment.[71] The evening was hosted by Gabby Logan and Vernon Kay during which Jon Culshaw, Mel C, Hugh Bonneville, Chipmonk and Jack Whitehall appeared. Niamh Clarke-Willis a nine-year-old was chosen to officially open the stadium.[72] During the London Disability Grand Prix, Paul Blake (T36, 1500 metres), Hannah Cockroft (T34, 100 metres), Michael McKillop (T37, 1500 metres) and Richard Whitehead (T42, 200 metres) all set new world records.[73] The stadium also played host to the athletics events of the British school games.[74][75]

The stadium hosted both the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2012 Olympic Games.[76] During the Athletics events of the Olympic Games David Rudisha broke his own world record for the 800 metres to become the first man to run the distance in under 1 minute 41 seconds.[77] In the 4 × 100 metres relay the team from Jamaica also broke their own world record from the 2011 World Championships by two-tenths of a second.[78] The United States women's 4 by 100 metres team beat the previous best set by East Germany in 1985, recording a time of 40.82 seconds to set a new world record.[79][80] Olympic records were set by Usain Bolt, who ran the second fastest 100 metres,[81] Renaud Lavillenie in the Pole vault by 1 cm,[82] Sally Pearson recorded a record time in the 100 metres hurdles and Tatyana Lysenko set a new mark in the Hammer.[83][84]

The stadium also hosted both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 Paralympic Games.[85][86] Over the course of the Paralympic Games athletics events, world records were set on the track by; Oxana Boturchuk[87] Martina Caironi,[88] Chen Junfei,[89] El Amin Chentouf,[90] China,[91] Libby Clegg,[87] Arnu Fourie,[92] Marie-Amelie le Fur,[89] Terezinha Guilhermina,[88] Mahmoud Khaldi,[89] Samwel Mushai Kimani,[90] Walid Ktila.[93] Liang Yongbin,[91] Rosemary Little,[94] Liu Ping,[95] Liu Wenjun,[91] Gunther Matzinger,[91] Michael McKillop,[92] Mateusz Michalski,[91] Yohansson Nascimento,[96] Oscar Pistorius,[92] David Prince,[91] Evgenii Shvetcov[93] South Africa,[88] Leo Pekka Tahti,[87] Abraham Tarbei,[93] Iurii Tsaruk,[89] Richard Whitehead,[87] Abderrahim Zhiou,[93] Zhu Daqing and Zhou Guohua.[87] Multiple World Records on the track were set by Yunidis Castillo,[91][92] Assia El Hannouni,[89][97] Evan O'Hanlon,[92][98] Jason Smyth,[92][95][99] Fanie van der Merwe and Marlou van Rhijn.[89][91][92][98][100]

In the field events, World records were set by Hani Alnakhli,[95] Alexey Ashapatov,[99] Aigars Apinis[101] Lahouari Bahlaz,[95] Mohamed Berrahal,[101] Kelly Cartwright,[102] Yanlong Fu,[103] Leonardo Diaz,[100] Zeljko Dimitrijevic,[94] Tanja Dragic,[102] Najat El Garraa,[99] Javad Hardani,[95] Todd Hodgetts,[95] Jun Wang,[102] Maroua Ibrahmi,[87] Juan Yao,[104] Mohsen Kaedi,[92] Mohammad Khalvandi,[91] Gocha Khugaev,[88] Karolina Kucharczyk,[90] Assunta Legnante,[100] Maciej Lepiato,[91] Liu Fuliang,[92] Drazenko Mitrovic,[100] Azeddine Nouiri,[93] Katarzyna Piekart,[92] Mariia Pomazan,[102] Nikita Prokhorov,[89] Qing Wu,[102] Markus Rehm,[99] Raoua Tlili,[91] Wang Yanzhang,[95] Zhu Pengkai,[88] Oksana Zubkovska.[103] Multiple records were set in the field by Dong Xia,[95][100] Birgit Kober,[89][90] Na Mi,[101] Yang Liwan,[88][92] and Wang Zhiming.[93][103]

Post-Olympics use[edit]

The decision as to how to use the Stadium after the Olympics went through two rounds of bidding, after the first was rejected On 11 October 2011, following the emergence of concerns in respect of European Union competition law and particularly the risk of illegal state aid.[105][106][107][108]

First tenancy process[edit]

The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) five criteria were that the new tenant should produce a viable long-term solution that provided value for money, secured a partner with the expertise to operate a legacy solution, reopened the stadium as quickly as possible, made the stadium a distinctive physical symbol that supported regeneration and which allowed flexible usage.[109] After receiving and pre-screening over 100 expressions of interest, the formal bidding process of selecting the post-Olympics user of the stadium opened on 18 August 2010. It ran until 30 September, after which the OPLC drew up a shortlist, with a view to selecting a tenant by the end of the financial year, by 31 March.[110]

On 12 November 2010, it was announced that two bids had been shortlisted for the stadium post-Olympics. They were a joint bid from Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), with the second bid from West Ham United F.C. and Newham Council.[111]

Bids[edit]

The legacy plan for the stadium had involved converting it into a 25,000- to 30,000-seat athletics stadium with a sports training, science and medicine centre following the 2012 Paralympics. Media reports, however, suggested that several potential tenants were interested in moving to the stadium after the games. Media speculation or expressions of interest which did not result in bids included: the England and Wales Cricket Board and Kent County Cricket Club;[112] Middlesex County Cricket Club,[113] Essex County Cricket Club:[114] Wasps RFC;[115][116] Saracens R.F.C.;[117] London Skolars R.L.F.C.; Major League Baseball;[118] the National Football League, which had been looking at the potential of a franchise in London;[119] and Leyton Orient F.C..[120]

Bid 1 – AEG and Tottenham Hotspur[edit]
Artist's impression of the proposed new stadium by AEG and Tottenham Hotspur

These joint bidders had expressed individual interest in the venue but submitted a joint bid to take over. AEG is the company that redeveloped the loss-making Millennium Dome exhibition venue in South East London into the profitable music venue The O2.[121] On 26 July 2010, it was rumoured that Tottenham might be interested in taking over the stadium post-Games. The club had plans to build a new stadium adjacent to their current home as part of the Northumberland Development Project, but the planning application and funding was proving difficult, at the time, making the Olympic Stadium a viable option.[122][123]

Bid 2 – Newham Council and West Ham United[edit]
Artist's impression of the proposed redeveloped stadium by West Ham United and Newham Council

Following the takeover in 2010 by David Gold and David Sullivan, the new owners of West Ham United expressed their desire to make the stadium as the club's new home. With Boris Johnson expressing his desire for a football team to take over the stadium after the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics this seemed the most likely option.[124] At the opening of the formal bid process, West Ham United were considered favourites once they reversed from their initial opposition to keeping the running track as well as planning a £100 million conversion to create a 60,000 capacity venue, which would also host international football, international athletics, as well as Essex County Cricket Club, international Twenty20 cricket matches, NFL games, and Live Nation events.[125]

Decision, Review and Cancellation[edit]

On 11 February 2011, the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) selected West Ham United and Newham Council as the preferred bidder to take over the stadium after the 2012 Games in a unanimous decision.[126] However, Leyton Orient complained that the stadium is too close to their ground and would breach FA rules. They claimed that West Ham's plans could force them into bankruptcy.[127] On 3 March 2011, West Ham United's proposed move to the stadium was approved by the British Government and London Mayor Boris Johnson.[128]

Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and Leyton Orient F.C. applied for a judicial review to overturn the Olympic Park Legacy Company's (OPLC) decision; however, this appeal was rejected in June 2011.[129] Tottenham Hotspur appealed the decision not to have a review on 29 June 2011.[130] The OPLC announced on 5 July 2011 that an independent review into the awarding of the Olympic Park Stadium to West Ham United was to be carried out following the discovery on 30 June 2011 that an employee, Dionne Knight had been engaged by West Ham United to carry out consultancy work relating to the stadium without permission of the OPLC. Knight had already declared to the OPLC that she was in a personal relationship with a director of West Ham United, and was suspended whilst a possible conflict of interest was investigated.[131] On 22 August 2011, the independent investigation ruled that the process was not compromised and thus the bid process will not be reopened.[132] On 23 August, the day before Tottenham Hotspur were due in court, they staged "intense negotiations" with the office of the Mayor of London, and looked set to drop all claims for a review and be offered funding for their own stadium.[133] However, the next day Tottenham did attend court despite being close to striking a deal about their own stadium. Tottenham and Leyton Orient won a review of the decision, being told that they had an arguable case.[134] The review was scheduled to take place on 18 October 2011. Even if Tottenham abandoned the review, due to being granted a new stadium as part of their Northumberland Development Project, Orient were expected to continue, with its owner Barry Hearn calling the decision to grant a review "a great day for the little man".[135] However, the bid was later cancelled before the review was completed, due to a series of concerns regarding EU laws.[108]

Second tenancy process[edit]

Once the original deal collapsed a new process to select a tenant was begun. The athletics legacy clause was clarified to ensure that a track remained in the stadium.[136] West Ham immediately announced plans to become tenants of the stadium.[137][138] On 17 October 2011, a day before they were due in court for the judicial review to start into the original bidding process, Tottenham Hotspur ended their legal challenge about the original decision to award the stadium to West Ham.[139] This marked Spurs' end to their interest in the stadium. On 18 October, Leyton Orient submitted an application to the Football League for permission for a move to the stadium. Chairman Barry Hearn said, "We are asking for a 25,000-seater stadium and we want to see if we can get around the athletics track. It has to stay, we know that. But can we build up, if not down, and see if it's possible to get it covered while we play?".[140]

In February 2012, 16 parties were interested in the stadium.[141] In July 2012, four bidders were announced:[142][143]

In April 2012, the Olympic Park Legacy Company was dismantled and responsibilities transferred to the newly constituted London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC).[145] Daniel Moylan, chairman of the LLDC, was removed by Mayor Boris Johnson on 12 September 2012, after having made changes to the leadership of the organisation that annoyed some Board members. Johnson took on the chairmanship of the co-operation himself.[146]

In December 2012, West Ham were named as the preferred bidder for the stadium with a separate operator co-ordinating community and sporting use, as well as concerts and events.[147] Leyton Orient's bid was rejected due to its commercial viability and the bid from Intelligent Transport Services, in conjunction with Formula One, was rejected for having too much speculation and uncertainty in their business plan.[148] However, with so much public money going into the stadium and its redevelopment, the BBC learned that David Gold and David Sullivan must share any profits they make if they sell the club.[149][150] West Ham were given three months to improve the terms of their deal or lose the stadium; with Johnson going with plan B without football.[148] The two parties seemed to find common ground in February 2013, with West Ham, reportedly, agreeing to paying £2.5 million in rent per year. They additionally promised to pay back any extra cost for the roof and seats within ten years.[151][152] Gold stated at the beginning of March that a deal could be complete by the middle of the month.[153] On 22 March 2013, West Ham United secured a 99-year lease deal, with the stadium planned to be used as their home ground from the 2016–2017 season.[154] In July 2013, UK Athletics received a 50-year deal for the use of the stadium.[155] UK Athletics will have access to the stadium every year from the last Friday in June until the end of July.[156]

On 6 March, Barry Hearn of Leyton Orient stated that he would mount another legal challenge as he believed the rules set out by the LLDC had not been followed. Hearn also said he felt Leyton Orient's proposed ground share had been ignored and not properly explored.[157][158][159] In April 2013, he was informed that his call for a judicial review had been rejected.[160][161] An oral application was submitted in June 2013.[162] On 19 September 2013, Leyton Orient lost their bid to win a judicial review into the decision to grant West Ham the tenancy of the Olympic Stadium. At the High Court, Mr Justice Lewis said the LLDC was entitled to make the decision which was not "irrational".[163] In November 2013 it was the House of Lords' opinion that Leyton Orient should be allowed occasional use of the stadium, with Lord Harris telling Orient and West Ham to "stop squabbling like children."[164][165][166] Dennis Hone stated that he was in talks with Barry Hearn over occasional usage, but that it would not mean a permanent groundshare.[167] In early December, the LLDC said that there was nothing to stop Orient from negotiating a rental agreement with whichever firm ends up running the stadium. Orient, however, would not be able to negotiate a 99-year deal like West Ham and would only have usage of the stadium when the Hammers are not playing.[168][169] On 1 July 2014, Leyton Orient brought an end to their dispute with the Premier League regarding the future use of the stadium, after a confidential agreement between the two parties was reached.[170][171]

Supporters of various rival clubs pressed for an inquiry into the LLDC's granting of West Ham's tenancy, arguing that West Ham were being given an unfair advantage by the arrangement. However, in September 2015 the government rejected holding such an inquiry.[172] In October 2015, the LLDC released a 207-page document with redacted sections. West Ham's annual rent was not revealed as this was seen to be commercially sensitive information.[173] On 14 April 2016 it was revealed that West Ham will pay £2.5 million per year during a 99-year lease of the stadium but will not have to fund police, stewarding, heating, pitch maintenance, or corner flags. Barry Hearn described the deal as one his dog could have bettered.[174]

Stadium operator[edit]

In October 2014 The Evening Standard reported that French company Vinci SA were favourites to be given a contract to run the stadium for ten years. The company which already operates several other stadiums, including the Stade de France in Paris, had reportedly beaten off competition from other companies including Anschutz Entertainment Group who run The O2.[175] In February 2015, Vinci Stadium, a subsidiary of Vinci Concessions, were appointed to manage the stadium starting in April 2015 for a 25-year period. The company will also be responsible for the London Marathon Charitable Trust Community Track and events on the south park lawn. This is the first stadium outside France to be managed by Vinci.[176][177][178][179]

Sports[edit]

Although West Ham United and UK Athletics are the primary tenants, the stadium operators arrange many other events for the stadium.

Athletics[edit]

Anniversary Games[edit]

David Weir broke the World Record in the men's T54 mile

Charles Sale reported in the Daily Mail during December 2012 that the London Legacy Development Corporation were keen to take financial advantage by hosting events in the stadium due to the work to convert the stadium not starting until autumn 2013.[180] On 24 January 2013, it was confirmed that the London Athletics Grand Prix, a Diamond League event, would be switched to the stadium.[181] In February 2013, it was announced that after the stadium would also hold a Paralympic athletics event on 28 July.[182] In April Sainsbury's were announced as sponsors and the event was renamed the "Anniversary Games".[183][184]

The London Grand Prix was scheduled to move permanently to the stadium in 2016. However, due to the 2015 Rugby World Cup taking place in the stadium, using the original seating configuration, the opportunity came to move the Grand Prix to the stadium a year early, again under the name of the Anniversary Games.[185][186][187][188][189] During the 2015 events national records were set by Dafne Schippers (100 m), Dina Asher-Smith (100 m),[190] Shara Proctor(long jump),[191] while Georgina Hermitage (400 m T37) and Sophie Hahn (100 m T38) set world records.[192]

The fourth Anniversary Games took place in the stadium on 22–23 July 2016. The IPC Grand Prix events were incorporated alongside Diamond League events on the second day of the meet. It was the only Diamond League meeting to date to span two consecutive days.

2017 World Athletics and World ParaAthletics Championships[edit]

London had bid to host the 2015 World Athletics Championships using the Olympic Stadium. It went up against Beijing's Olympic Stadium and the Polish city of Chorzów. However, the stadium had to withdraw their bid due to uncertainties arising out of the timing of the announcement of who would operate the stadium after the Olympics, thus gifting Beijing the championships.[193] With issues resolved over the stadium's future, London again used the stadium to bid for the 2017 World Athletics Championships.[194] The bid was made official in August with Lord Coe personally submitting the bid a few weeks later at the 2011 World Athletic Championships in Daegu which was supported by London's Mayor Boris Johnson and the British Government.[195] On 11 November 2011, the IAAF officially awarded the 2017 World Championships to London.[196] The World ParaAthletics Championships (formerly the IPC Athletics World Championships) are scheduled to take place a month before the able-bodied event[197] and were formally confirmed for the stadium in December 2012.[198]

Football[edit]

The players of West Ham and NK Domzale before the game

West Ham United play at the stadium, having moved from their former Upton Park in August 2016.[199][200] The club announced in March 2013 that the stands behind the goals will be named after former players Bobby Moore and Trevor Brooking; there were stands at Upton Park named after them.[44] West Ham sold out the 50,000 season ticket allocation for the stadium by May 2016 for the 2016–17 season.[201]

The opening game for West Ham was a Europa League match against NK Domzale on 4 August 2016,[202] which West Ham won 3–0 with the stadium sold out, albeit with a reduced capacity of 54,000 as conversion works were still being finished.[203] The official opening match was a friendly with Juventus on 7 August with a 2-3 defeat.[204] West Ham's first Premier League match at the stadium was against Bournemouth with an attendance of 56,977.[205]

Other sports[edit]

The racing circuit inside the stadium for the 2015 Race of Champions

In May 2014 it was announced that Essex had agreed a deal in principle to play Twenty20 matches at the stadium.[206] Major League Baseball (MLB) are also in advance talks to bring a league game to Europe for the first time. It was touted that an similar agreement to the NFL's could begin in 2017.[207]

In November 2015 the stadium hosted the 2015 Race of Champions event. It was the first occasion since 2008 that Great Britain hosted the event, with Wembley Stadium last staging the contest in 2008.[208] The English team of Andy Priaulx and Jason Plato won the nations cup whilst Sebastian Vettel took the Champion of Champions crown.[209][210]

Rugby league[edit]

The first Rugby league match at the stadium was played between England and New Zealand on 7 November 2015. The match was the second of a three-game series between the sides.[211][212] The venue will also host the match between England and Australia as part of the 2016 Rugby League Four Nations. In June 2016, it was announced that the Stadium will form part of England's bid to host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.[213]

List of rugby league matches at the Olympic stadium
Date Winner Score Runner up Tournament
7 November 2015  New Zealand 9–2  England 2015 Baskerville Shield
13 November 2016  England vs.  Australia 2016 Four Nations

Rugby Union World Cup[edit]

Further information: 2015 Rugby World Cup
France playing Romania at the Olympic Stadium during the 2015 Rugby World Cup

In July 2012 the Olympic Park Legacy Company submitted a bid to England Rugby 2015 to host some matches of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. On 2 May 2013, it was officially announced that the Olympic Stadium was due to host four Pool matches during the World Cup and the Bronze final.[214] The first Rugby union match at the stadium took place on 29 August 2015 as part of a testing programme ahead of the World Cup. The match featured the first ever game between the invitational Barbarians side and Samoa.[215][216][217] The Barbarians won 27–24, with Samoa having Kane Thompson sent off for punching. The game was delayed when pitch sprinklers came on during the first half.[218]

List of rugby union matches at the Olympic stadium
Date Country Score Country Use
29 August 2015 Barbarians Barbarians.png 27–24  Samoa 2015 RWC Warm-up
23 September 2015 France  38–11  Romania 2015 Rugby World Cup
24 September 2015 New Zealand  58–14  Namibia
4 October 2015 Ireland  16–9  Italy
7 October 2015 South Africa  64–0  United States
30 October 2015 South Africa  24–13  Argentina

Music[edit]

AC/DC with Axl Rose performing the first concert at the Olympic Stadium, 4 June 2016

In January 2013 music concert promoter Live Nation won the right to stage shows at the stadium and in the surrounding Park.[219] Hard Rock Calling, Wireless Festival and Electric Daisy Carnival were held in July but in the Park and not the stadium itself. On 4 June 2016, AC/DC, featuring Axl Rose, performed the first concert inside the stadium since its redevelopment as part of their Rock or Bust World Tour.[220]

Transport[edit]

Rail[edit]

The stadium is located in the south of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Stratford and Stratford International railway stations are the main stations nearest to the Olympic Park, and are roughly a 20-minute walk to the stadium.[221] Stratford International is served by trains on High Speed 1 offering 4 trains per hour to St. Pancras International, as well as other services to Kent, while Stratford station has London Overground services to North, West and South London, and is on the Great Eastern Main Line to East London and East Anglia.[221] Stratford is on London Underground's Jubilee and Central lines to Central London and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).[221] The DLR offers a direct service to London City Airport. In addition, Hackney Wick (London Overground) and Pudding Mill Lane (DLR) serve the stadium, but may be closed during bigger events due to capacity limitations. From 2018 the stadium will be served by Crossrail.

Stations nearby:

Service Station(s) Lines
London Overground London Overground Hackney Wick Handicapped/disabled access
Stratford Handicapped/disabled access
London Overground North London Line
Docklands Light Railway Docklands Light Railway Pudding Mill Lane Handicapped/disabled access
Stratford Handicapped/disabled access
Stratford International Handicapped/disabled access
Docklands Light Railway Lewisham/Canary Wharf-Stratford
Docklands Light Railway Stratford International–Beckton/Woolwich Arsenal
London Underground London Underground Stratford Handicapped/disabled access Jubilee line flag box.svg
Central line
National Rail National Rail Stratford Handicapped/disabled access Great Eastern Main Line
Lea Valley Lines
Stratford International High Speed 1

Road[edit]

Travellers by car are advised to use the public car parks at Westfield Stratford City, Stratford International station and the Stratford Centre.[222] The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park also has several docking stations for London's Santander Cycles bike-hire programme.[221]

Bus and Coach[edit]

Buses serve the Olympic Park directly, or the nearby Stratford bus station and Stratford City bus station. The following routes serve the Olympic Park and Stadium directly:[222][223]

Route Start End Areas
308 Wanstead Clapton North-East London
388 Blackfriars Station Stratford City bus station Central London, East London
339 Shadwell Station Leytonstone Station East London
D8 Isle of Dogs Stratford International Centre London Docklands

A further 17 services use the Stratford bus stations, which offer a network of services across East London. In addition, route 25 from Oxford Street serves Central London.[222]

The following services operate through the night and provide the area with a 24-hour public transport service:

Route Start End Areas
25 Oxford Street Ilford Central London, East London
N8 Soho Hainault Central London, East London
N86 Stratford Bus Station Harold Wood East London, Romford, M25
N205 Paddington Leyton Central London, City of London, London Docklands

National Express coach services to Stratford Bus Station provide a direct connection to Stansted Airport[224] and several other routes to Cambridge and East Anglia.[225]

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External links[edit]


Preceded by
Beijing National Stadium
Beijing
Summer Olympics
Opening and closing ceremonies (Olympic Stadium)

2012
Succeeded by
Estádio do Maracanã
Rio de Janeiro
Preceded by
Beijing National Stadium
Beijing
Summer Paralympics
Opening and closing ceremonies (Olympic Stadium)

2012
Succeeded by
Estádio do Maracanã
Rio de Janeiro
Preceded by
Beijing National Stadium
Beijing
Olympic Athletics competitions
Main venue

2012
Succeeded by
Estádio Olímpico João Havelange
Rio de Janeiro
Preceded by
Beijing National Stadium
Beijing
Paralympic Athletics competitions
Main venue

2012
Succeeded by
Estádio Olímpico João Havelange
Rio de Janeiro
Preceded by
Beijing National Stadium
Beijing
World Championships in Athletics
Main Venue

2017
Succeeded by
Khalifa International Stadium
Doha
Preceded by
None
Invictus Games
Opening ceremony venue

2014 Invictus Games
Succeeded by
Champion Stadium
Orlando