NFL Franchises In "Exploratory" Talks Regarding Move To Olympic Stadium As Anchor Tenant
NFL franchises are “in talks with London Mayor Boris Johnson’s office over becoming the anchor tenant of the Olympic Stadium,” according to Matt Scott of the London TELEGRAPH. Johnson’s negotiations “could cast a significant shadow over the prospects" of EPL club West Ham United or League One club Leyton Orient "taking over the venue.” A spokesperson for Johnson said, “Given the ever-growing popularity of gridiron this side of the Atlantic the mayor and his team have held a number of meetings with senior executives in the last few days to explore further opportunities for NFL in London. The talks were exploratory and we are at an early stage but the signs are encouraging.” Scott notes the news comes after a report showed "the Treasury’s refusal to hand over cash from the [US$543M] Olympic-contingency underspend to contribute to the installation of retractable seating under the stadium’s athletics track.” West Ham is “cool on making such payment,” which could cost "up to" US$322M. West Ham "have been favourites to take over the stadium since a shortlist, which had no NFL presence, was drawn up in July.” An NFL anchor for the stadium would “require the facility for a maximum of 10 occasions each year," which could permit F1, already on the London Legacy Development Corp.’s "shortlist of possible tenants, also to use the stadium for an annual race” (London TELEGRAPH, 10/31).