As West Ham United bid to make their capacity the largest in London and the second biggest in the Premier League, it’s time to talk about London Stadium.
Whether members of the Claret & Blue Army like it or not, football is far from the only sport played all year round at the Stratford venue.
During international breaks we have Gallagher Premiership rugby and in the summer we have had everything from motor racing to athletics including the World Cup of the latter.
Not to mention non-sporting events such as blockbuster concerts and conventions.
The latest adage to that list, as many of us will have noticed in the last couple of weeks, has been baseball.
For the first time ever an MLB match was played in the United Kingdom and it was the big one, the New York Yankees vs the Boston Red Sox with the former winning both matches in front of nearly 60,000 spectators on both occasions.
This time next year the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals will take to London Stadium in the second year of the MLB London series.
The arena was also considered for the 2019 Cricket World Cup and will surely host the sport in the future.
Plus, following the success of baseball in east London, it could only be a matter of time before Major League Football is played at a third different London site in London Stadium, after Wembley and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The international exposure that these events give the London 2012 Olympic Stadium and more importantly, the Hammers is huge and it will work wonders for the club in the global market.
It’s going to be the factor the bolsters West Ham’s finances the most moving forward for the following reasons.
It’s important to remember that the club doesn’t own London Stadium and only signed an agreement for a 99-year lease.
This means that there is no direct financial gain from events that are non-West Ham related taking place at the venue, things such as shares of ticket revenue going solely to the stadium’s landlords.
However, just think about it, every year the stadium looks more like the home of West Ham United and every new year brings more possibilities about new events from different countries that the versatile stadium could hold. All without compromising its primary use – football.
Apart from the odd boxing bout and international friendly, the Boleyn Ground would barely host anything other than West Ham matches.
And even had it wanted to, it was too small and not suitable enough in reality, leaving a void in the international exposure it could bring from other events.
Now, we’re talking about fans here and I know new fans aren’t necessarily always the best thing in terms of stadium atmosphere and all that jazz.
But most of the overall atmosphere in any West Ham ground has always come from the singing sections and are these so-called football tourists really going to start infiltrating those?
How do we know new fans are going to be attracted because of these events? Well, just look at the great collaboration work the club is doing with these new teams from different sports from all over the world.
More fans and more global support equates to much more money through various means which include new investors. And that all boils down to better football on the pitch.
This is because that money can be invested in new and better players who can bring both a better brand and quality of football to east London.
We should all learn to embrace London Stadium for this reason and everything that happens in it that isn’t specifically to do with the club. It all comes back to help us in the end.