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Sep 12, 2012

Hammers eye Olympic Park legacy

West Ham are aiming to bring 1.2 million additional people to the Olympic Park every year after ESPN revealed the details of their bid.

• Blog: Why the move would work
• West Ham 'want multi-purpose stadium'

ESPN disclosed on Tuesday that the Hammers plan to have a maximum attendance of 100,000 in all-purpose new stadium with retractable seats to cover the running track to include pop concerts and hand out a section of cheap tickets. West Ham will pay £10 million a year for a 99-year lease.

West Ham later issued a statement on their website making it clear that they would have the ideal legacy for the Olympic Park when they pledged to ensure "the park and local businesses would continue to see the increase in footfall they witnessed during the Olympic and Paralympic Games."

The Hammers have also pledged to create 720 new jobs if they are selected as anchor concessionaires, with a further expansion of the award-winning Community Sports Trust mentor programme promised.

The West Ham bid received support from a host of public figures, who signed an open letter earlier last month. Ray Winstone, James Corden and former Olympic champions Sally Gunnell and Mark Hunter were among those who backed the club's proposal.

The Excel Centre and the East London Business Alliance are among those that have expressed a desire to see their bid succeed "to ensure that the Olympic Stadium maintains its standing as an international landmark and focal point for business".

Liam Kane, chief executive of the East London Business Alliance said: "West Ham have been at the heart of east London for longer than I care to remember. A move to the Olympic Stadium would not only allow all the fans who can't get tickets now to see the games but, more importantly, the jobs generated by the move, both during construction and in operation, would be very welcome to the unemployed residents of the area.

"The trained staff and volunteers from the Olympics will provide a ready-made workforce and it seems to me to be an ideal partnership.

"The Olympic and Paralympic Games have been a brilliant advert for what the East End of London can achieve. They have put the area back on the world map but we must not now waste the good work that has been started. It is essential that we continue the boost our local economy has seen, with a lively and vibrant Olympic Park at the forefront of it.

"West Ham United's Bid to become anchor concessionaires would guarantee a busy stadium on a bi-weekly basis, thus ensuring businesses in the local area continue to flourish.

"Having Premier League football in the Stratford would also ensure it keeps its global reputation, which in turn brings greater exposure and value to the commercial appeal of the park. West Ham's Bid also promises to create hundreds of new jobs to further boost our local economy. Put simply, I cannot see any viable alternative."

Kevin Murphy, CEO of the ExCeL Centre added: "West Ham United have played a pivotal role in the local community for a great many years, making a major contribution to the social regeneration of east London. No one is better placed to take hold of the legacy baton after the Games and be at the heart of a lively and busy Olympic Stadium."

Mark Kass, Head of Enterprise & Economic Development, Barking Enterprise Centre IT said: "West Ham United's absolute commitment to supporting its local community goes beyond football. The Club, its people and its strategic and commercial partners are totally committed to supporting the educational and socio-economic needs of the diverse population across the six Olympic Host Borough and beyond.

"With the Club located in this new piece of London it will attract new and engage existing communities, creating new jobs and opportunities for local businesses. The power of the West Ham brand will create a sports and entertainment legacy destination that will strengthen a financial model that secures long-term revenues ensuring financial viability and ultimately security of tenure for the Landlords of this unique and exciting global venue."

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