Formal bidding for the long term lease of the Olympic Stadium has begun.

The final decision will be made by the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) which said over 100 companies are interested in the east London arena.

West Ham Football Club and AEG, which runs the O2 Arena, are reported to be in the running.

The £537 million venue will be the show piece to the London 2012 games which is set to complete in 2011.

According to OPLC guidelines the successful bidder must preserve the stadium as a distinctive physical symbol and support the area’s regeneration.

The 80,000-seater stadium was designed to give future operators the option of reducing its capacity.

A shortlist will be selected by the OPLC once the bidding period ends on 30 September.

Margaret Ford, chairman of the OPLC, said: "The stadium is at the heart of the Olympic Park and securing the most appropriate solution is crucial to our long-term aspirations for the area.

"We have generated a great deal of interest by working with the market to understand how they would use this iconic venue.

"I am delighted that organisations with a serious interest all want a mixed usage - this is in-line with our promise to meet the bid commitments, and our vision for the Stadium to be a focal point for sport and community use," she added.

OPLC aims to select an anchor tenant by the end of the financial year.

Posted on 18/08/2010