The Olympic Stadium could be renamed the Mahindra Stadium after it emerged the venue’s owners were in advanced talks with the Indian conglomerate over its naming rights during West Ham United’s tenancy.
The London Legacy Development Corporation is close to concluding a deal worth around £6 million a year – £1m of which will go to West Ham – with the Mahindra Group, a technology giant and car maker.
An announcement is planned before West Ham say farewell to Upton Park at the end of this season, after which they will become anchor tenants of the £701m Olympic Stadium on a 99-year lease.
Although Mahindra is not a household name in Britain, it has annual sales of £11 billion and businesses spanning energy, defence and farm equipment.
This week saw it launch its new electric car in the UK.
The terms of West Ham’s tenancy of the Olympic Stadium, which were finally published last week following a long legal battle, revealed that the club are entitled to 50 per cent of the annual revenue from naming rights above the initial £4m.
A deal with Mahindra would also end the LLDC’s tortuous search for a title sponsor, which saw sports marketing giant IMG initially target a £15m-a-year backer.
Sir Martin Sorrell’s new firm ESP was then brought in and it looks to have helped get a deal over the line.
The publication of West Ham’s concession agreement provoked outrage over the taxpayer contribution to their tenancy.
Critics claimed the club had been handed “the deal of the century” by the LLDC and there were calls for the matter to be investigated by Parliament’s financial watchdog.
The contract confirmed West Ham would not only be charged just £2.5m per year in rent, but would not pay a penny towards the upkeep of the stadium, including towards pitch maintenance, goalposts and goal nets and corner flags.
Source : telegraph.co.uk