If you look at the recent results and their league position, it might be hard to use West Ham as a case study in how to go forward as a football team. But if you take a step back and look at the work they are doing on a level above the pitch, then the London club is a great example to clubs around the world how to build for future success.
Football clubs make money from lots of different avenues and one that might be overlooked is from the stadium itself. If you look at the big earners in this area, Arsenal made £100 million from the Emirates Stadium in 2014 while Manchester United made over £87 million from Old Trafford and Chelsea netted over £71million from Stamford Bridge.
Prior to moving to their new stadium, West Ham made just £19 million last year from Upton Park. But the increased size of the new Olympic Stadium can dramatically improve their stadium revenue. The capacity is already at 54,000 and plans will see the stadium reach 66,000 in the near future.
The new stadium is more attractive for other reasons – transport links to it alone are far superior than to their old ground. This means that it can be used for other purposes and will also attract other revenue streams.
The sponsorship deals
Their big deal with online bookmakers Betway was another sign that the club was looking at the future. Betway have made it their business to work with football teams around the world where they can help develop the club and do more than just get some advertising on the team shirt.
Their recent deal with Ashanti Gold in Ghana is an example. Sponsoring one of the biggest teams in the country allows the club to upgrade their facilities, work on their development of youth and grassroots players and to create a long-term plan for the future. It did benefit the company with Betway available in Ghana and their connection with the club increasing their prestige for Ghanaian football fans too.
West Ham have also been clever about their recruitment of players. Often clubs try to buy success, taking in big names for obscene amounts of money and then trying to throw them together into a team. But the club has made a number of clever investments in players from around the world that have already paid off – Dimitri Payet being a prime example. Payet was signed from Marseille for just £11.25 million having been over looked by many other big clubs.
Their clever tactics have been combined with the ability to make the deals that will keep the players at the club once they find success. Payet, for example, has been eye-catching this season and is currently on a five year deal at £125,000 a week.
West Ham also make full use of the loan system to help assess players before putting real cash into the deal. It allows them to see how players fit into their system and plans then either make a deal for the player when the loan is finished or allow them to return to parent clubs if they don’t fit in.
Finally, the board have to be given credit for their work, even though some fans are a little uncertain about them. When they took over the club in 2010, it was on the edge of going under and while they are the first to admit there have been mistakes, they have a clear plan ahead and their ideas are slowly building the club up to where they want it to go for the future – even if this season so far has been a bit rocky!