Progress has been made by Essex in their bid to be able to play T20 matches at the Olympic Stadium from 2016, with an agreement being made “in principle”, according to BBC Sport.
Fellow South Eastern counties, Kent and Middlesex, have also expressed their desire to be a part of a potential cricketing festival at the site that hosted so many brilliant sporting moments during London 2012.
The Eagles have been looking into this matter for some time now, having first aired their interest to compete in the stadium back in 2010. And now it seems that they will finally manage to do that in a couple of years time. The club’s chief executive, Derek Bowden, has explained the current situation to BBC Essex.
He said: “In principle, there is an agreement that a two-week festival of T20-type cricket could be played at the Olympic Park from 2016.
“Ourselves, Kent and Middlesex have all expressed interest in playing there.”
The current home of Chelmsford is situated just 30 miles away from Stratford, which wouldn’t make the move too contentious.
A matter of distance to the ground has been at the core of the debate as to which football team would become a tenant at the ultra modern venue. West Ham eventually won the battle, despite firm contestation from the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient.
They will leave Upton Park to move in August 2016, but we will have to wait and see whether or not they are able to fill it.
It is now up to the London Legacy Development Corporation to decide for certain whether or not the stadium could be used for cricket matches. The organisation is tasked with deciding the future fate of the venue, which could include several different sports all sharing the ground, as well as hosting music concerts.
Festivals like Hard Rock Calling and Wireless have already utilised the Olympic Park – although not the stadium itself – as part of their shows, but that could also change in the future.
During the Olympics, the stadium’s capacity of 80,000 people made it the third largest in the country – behind Wembley and Twickenham. For this reason, it is a very sought after place for sporting teams to play. The number of seats won’t be as high for its new tenants, but it is still an elite piece of real estate.
The oval shape of the stadium also makes it more suited to cricketing teams. A proposed festival involving several counties would be a great barometer to measure just how successful the stadium could be as a cricket venue.
London already has Lord’s and The Oval as international-standard cricket grounds, but could we one day see the England national team donning their pads in the changing rooms at the Olympic Stadium?
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