Public Coffers Hammered

 Impressed: An image provided by West Ham which shows how the stadium could also be used as a concert venue after the Games

The new English Premier League football season begins today. As as life-long West Ham United supporter my expectations for a successful season are typically low. If the Hammers finish in a top eight position and have a good cup run I’ll be happy. With our move away from our spiritual home at the Boleyn into the Olympic Stadium at Stratford, east London next season, it’s imperative that we maintain our premier league status.

With a new manager and former player (who appears to be finally attuned to the  entertainment ethos of the club that the fans demand) in place, all is relatively good on the playing side of things. As far as the fans are concerned, off the park shenanigans are good too given that those who run the club plan to substantially reduce season ticket prices in an an attempt to fill the stadiums 54,000 capacity – a model that other clubs are encouraged to adopt (1).

But here’s the problem. West Ham United are paying just £15million towards the £272million cost of converting the Olympic Stadium despite the fact that, should the club still be a Premier League next year, it will – under the terms of a new TV deal – be entitled to a payout of at least £99million (2).

Small business people, many whom whom run their businesses on extremely tight margins, might be wondering how the elite within football, like multi-millionaire lady Brady, who brokered the deal are apparently immune to the kind of market forces that the former are compelled to adhere to?

As far as the super-rich with contacts to the top echelons of political power – whether they be premier league chairmen or City bankers – are concerned, it would appear that the kind of business risks the rest of us are prone to, is not applicable to them. The Premier League football racket is akin to the banking racket.

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