Adviser: “UK sports sponsorship is the softest it’s been for a long time”
London Stadium, home to English Premier League team West Ham, is losing money and still has not secured a naming rights sponsor.
It is reported that two companies have been paid a total of £447,000 to try to find a naming rights partner.
The stadium was built for the London Olympics in 2012 and has been riddled with financial issues after the cost to convert it into a football ground cost £323m.
Although West Ham pays an annual rent of £2.5m as tenants, the venue is still set to lose £140m over the next 10 years, with a sponsorship expert suggesting it could take years to secure a deal.
Gareth Bacon, chairman of the London Assembly’s budget and performance committee, said he was “mystified” by the failure to secure a suitable sponsor.
“It’s taxpayers’ money that has been wasted. When you pay that kind of money and get absolutely nothing in return, that’s not great,” said Bacon.
“There is a Premier League club playing in the stadium which held the most successful Olympic Games ever, in a major European country.”
But leading sponsorship adviser Tim Crow, who has been involved in numerous stadium rights deals, said more non-football events needed to be staged at the venue.
“It’s a tough sell. Unless they drop the price, if the situation remains as it is, it could remain unsold for years,” he said.
“UK sports sponsorship is the softest it’s been for a long time, mainly because of Brexit.
“Business hates uncertainty and if you’re asking someone for a long-term sponsorship, it’s no good.
“I’m not surprised at all they were unable to find a buyer.
“The focus should have been on getting sport and entertainment events all year round to make it much more attractive to a potential sponsor.”