West Ham United will be the main tenants of the Olympic Stadium, signing a 99-year lease with an annual rent of £2m.

The confirmation is a major milestone in what has been a drawn-out seven-year process.

The stadium, which was the main venue for the 2012 London Olympic Games, will also host athletics, concerts and other sporting events, but the Premier League Hammers will be the primary tenants.

The decision comes after the government agreed to stump up an extra £25m towards the cost of transforming the stadium – their contribution now stands at £60m. West Ham also increased their own funding from £5m to £15m.

Plans to transform the venue include extending the roof and reducing the seating capacity from 60,000 to 80,000. There will also be a retractable system in place that will enable seats to slide over the running track, bringing the Hammers fans closer to the pitch.

Work will begin in the autumn and officials believe it will be ready for the autumn of 2015, in time for the Rugby World Cup. West Ham are expected to start playing their matches there from August 2016.

Posted on 22/03/2013