Why West Ham will have no problem filling the Olympic Stadium

West Ham United estimate that around 40,000 supporters will be applying for season tickets across the course of this year ahead of the club’s move into the Olympic Stadium in Stratford in August 2016.

There have been doubts over whether West Ham can fill a ground with a 54,000 capacity but recent figures suggest that they most certainly can.

In an article on whufc.com, the club’s official website, information was released explaining how the ticketing system will work and the interest the club is expecting in terms of selling season tickets:

“The Club have worked carefully to ensure that the seat allocation process works in the interests of all our loyal Season Ticket Holders,” read their ticketing announcement.

“The priorities are that every existing Season Ticket Holder is offered a comparable seat in the new Stadium to the one they have for the final season at the Boleyn Ground and that they are able to group their seats together with friends and family.

“Additionally, Season Ticket Holders will have the opportunity to bring with them up to two other individuals as new Season Ticket Holders.

“With over 40,000 supporters expected to visit the Reservation Centre, the Club ask that all supporters stick to their allotted appointment time.”

There is no doubt that the migration process will be thorough and effective, with fans expected to flock to a ‘Reservation Centre’ based near the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford in order to book their season ticket for the 2016/17 season. As the club suggest, over 40,000 supporters will be expected to visit the centre in 2015. This implies that West Ham could have a high amount of season ticket sales ahead of their debut season in the Olympic Stadium. The 40,000 does not necessarily include fans who have never owned a season ticket before so the prospect of watching football in a new state-of-the-art stadium could attract more supporters to the club on a regular basis.

The argument that West Ham won’t be able to fill the stadium on a regular basis could be a flawed one, as attendance figures at the Boleyn Ground in 2014 are very impressive. Over the course of 2014, West Ham registered the highest percentage of full capacity over the calendar year at 99.8%. This is the highest percentage in the Premier League. West Ham’s current capacity at the Boleyn Ground is just 35,000 but, back in 2012, West Ham’s demand for play-off final tickets against Blackpool would have sold out Wembley twice over. Therefore, there is no real shortage of West Ham fans out there, meaning that a 54,000 capacity stadium certainly has the potential to be a sell-out on a regular basis.

If the capacity was around 70,000, West Ham could have faced a problem. Yet the likes of Newcastle United and Sunderland receive gates around the 50,000 mark, so there’s no reason to believe West Ham should be any different. Also, a lot will be determined in terms of how successful the club is. A Premier League side battling for Europe will attract a lot of fans, whether they support West Ham or not.

Whatever happens, there is an opportunity for the club to build a legacy that simply wouldn’t have been as achievable at the Boleyn Ground. If West Ham can fill up the 54,000 capacity week-in, week-out, it provides a perfect platform for the club to push on and battle amongst the Premier League’s elite.