BARRY HEARN has been one of the most colorful figures in British sport for half a century.
Here, in the first part of SunSport’s exclusive autobiography sequel, he shares how he got down to business Officials about a young Ronnie O’Sullivanroyally revised darts.. and angry when West Ham were handed the Olympic Stadium.
THE final Olympic Stadium deal was a disgrace and should never have been sanctioned.
Expressed in a simple way, west ham were allowed to sell their own property to developers and keep the proceeds.
In exchange for a 99-year lease, they contributed £15m towards the cost of the stadium – but at the time the cost plus remodeling was probably over £700m.
They were charged £2.5m a year as rent, but the Olympic Park Legacy Company was responsible for all stewarding, supervision and maintenance of the site.
So West Ham effectively received free rent.
It was the deal of the century and my dog could have picked a better one.
I said Boris Johnsonthen Mayor of London, it was a terrible deal for the taxpayer.
We tried everything to block West Ham but we failed. It cost me over £1million in legal fees.
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Time will tell, but every time I read about it London Stadiumi know i was right
The operators of the stadium soon found themselves in financial difficulties because of a regulation that made the favored tenant West Ham untenable.
The athletics track is still there, but obscured by a goofy seating configuration that takes days to install.
It’s not commercially viable.
Despite everything, I harbor no malice towards West Ham.
In 2021, West Ham announced the sale of 27 per cent of the club to Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky for around £180m, with the club being valued at £700m.
Far in excess of the less than £100million joint co-chairs David Gold and David Sullivan are said to have paid.
A large part of this is certainly due to the acquisition of London Stadium.
Part of me wants to congratulate smart Sullivan, Gold and Vice Chairman Karren Brady; another part of me thinks that we’ve all been royally ripped off as taxpayers.
*My Life: Knockouts, Snooker, Bullseyes, Tight Lines and Sweet Deals, by Barry HearnReleases April 28th and is available to pre-order now (Hodder & Stoughton, £20).
https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/18245727/barry-hearn-west-ham-olympic-stadium-disgrace/ The Olympic Stadium deal was a disgrace as West Ham were allowed to sell Upton Park and keep the money, says Barry Hearn