Industry insider blasts LLDC 'hypocrisy'

  • by Staff Writer
  • Tuesday, 15th October 2019

The London Legacy Development Corporation are said to have banned gambling, tobacco and alcohol-producing companies from bidding for sponsorship of the London Olympic Stadium.

Unlike the vast majority of Premier League venues the stadium remains without a corporate sponsor despite having been open for more than three years, as previously-mooted deals with the likes of Vodafone and the Mahindra Group having fallen through.

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Such a move would rule out West Ham United's principal partner, Betway, from extending their deal to add stadium naming rights to their portfolio - even though reports claim that the club's vice chair Karren Brady has been charged with assisting the bid to secure a new partner.

The stadium continues to lose a small fortune every year, with the latest accounts confirming that the LOS cost taxpayers in excess of ?25million to run in the year to March 2019.

And according to one industry specialist, Gambling Insider's Matthew Enderby, the stadium operators are wrong to dismiss such potentially lucrative opportunities.

"It is ridiculous for the London Stadium's landlord to label a potential gambling sponsor as 'inappropriate'," he said. "Here we have a burning example of hypocrisy.

"Every other weekend, for the majority of the year, 11 men run around the venue's field with Betway branded across their chests. West Ham United Football Club's substitutes sit on the Betway-labelled bench in track suits and training gear also sponsored by the operator.

"If it's cold and wet, Manuel Pellegrini, the club's manager, will wear his coat that carries the company's logo just below that of the club. Depending on the opponent, millions of viewers from around the world will watch this for an hour and a half.

"Surely the LLDC should evict West Ham if it truly believes the presence of a gambling operator will tarnish the stadium."

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However fellow industry insider Nathan Joyes maintains that the LLDC are right to refuse to deal with gambling and drug companies.

"People may argue West Ham, which currently plays its home matches at the Stratford-based stadium, is already sponsored by Betway," he replied.

"But a reminder to all: the club only rents the stadium; if it packed up and left, the London Stadium's name would need to fit its new clientele. It represents sport as a whole and the LLDC is indeed right to look at the bigger picture.

"Out of the 91 football clubs spread across England's top leagues, only two football stadiums are sponsored by a gambling or alcohol company - Stoke City and Huddersfield Town.

"If the LLDC wants to keep its stadium's legacy intact and is not drawn into selling rights to an organisation which isn't 'family friendly',it has every right to do so. I'm sure, over time, the LLDC won't be short of offers from other businesses."

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