English Premier League club West Ham United’s fans will be closer to the action next season after London Stadium completed a reconfiguration of the lower tier stands behind the goals.
The Bobby Moore and Sir Trevor Brooking stands have been brought closer to the pitch and squared-off in line with a more traditional football stadium configuration, with some seats moved as much as four metres forward.
The new layout will allow seats to be moved more quickly and efficiently for the full calendar of events. London Stadium and London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) officials said the reduced timeframe for the £5m seating system will save around £1m a year on seat move costs helping to repay the investment and reduce the venue’s operational costs.
The reconfigured lower tier stands are also designed to be compatible for rail seating, to allow them to be adapted in future should there be any changes to Premier League guidelines on safe standing.
Graham Gilmore, CEO of London Stadium, said: “We are delighted to have delivered this project because of the additional benefits it brings, both in terms of bringing the stand closer to the pitch and providing more efficient seat moves.
“Our multi-use stadium brings major global sporting and entertainment events to London, along with Premier League football, benefiting the local and city-wide economy. This is a further example of the efficiencies and improvements we are driving to create a sustainable business for the long-term.”
The changes are described by West Ham as “the next step in improving the overall supporter experience at London Stadium,” which was built as an athletics arena for the 2012 Olympic Games before the Premier League club relocated there in 2016.
The club said the changes were “something fans wanted and the club has delivered,” and come after the introduction of more of the claret and blue club colours last year to make the stadium feel more like home for West Ham fans.
West Ham said it attempted to ensure the process of relocating supporters was as smooth as possible. The club created a bespoke online portal for fans to be able to see the reconfigured stands alongside computer generated images showing views from seats, so that they were fully informed ahead of season ticket renewals being announced for the 2020-21 season.
Club captain Mark Noble said: “I’ve always said the West Ham fans are the best around – they make a real difference and the atmosphere they create at London Stadium is massive for the players. Bringing the fans closer to the pitch can only be good for them and us, and we can’t wait until everyone is back together in the stadium again.”
Plans to change the 60,000-capacity stadium’s layout were first announced in February 2019 with Arena Events Group and KSS Design Group appointed in the early part of this year to develop the new seating system.
Images: West Ham United