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The Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

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Probably great for Athletics but not for Ball Games!

Published by Alan Jennings — 4 years ago

Probably great for Athletics but not for Ball Games!

I visted the Olympic Stadium in London to watch Ireland play Italy in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Honestly I have to say that my experience at the stadium was a very mixed one. Firstly, the stadium is located in the Stratford area of the city, which can be a bit of a trek depending on what part of the city you are coming from. We took an overground train and it took almost an hour to get there so I would advise leaving yourself plenty of to get there just to be safe.

The overground doesn't exactly drop you off right beside the stadium either. You will have a walk of at least 5 minutes through the shopping centre in the area to get to the actual stadium area itself. There are plenty of places to eat along the way though so it's not too bad. The stadium area itself is actually quite impressive. There is loads of space, even with the large crowds so you never feel squashed or anything. The view from the main bridge leading up to the stadium is great, especially at night. 

Probably great for Athletics but not for Ball Games!

Probably my favourite part about the whole stadium was the entertainment outside the actual stadium. There were a bunch of different types of musicians playing all over the place. There was something for everyone's tastes with my personal favourite being the brass band you can see in the picture above. They played an amazing cover of The Jackson 5 as well as some Black Eyed Peas! There was also a group of people with touch judge flags running around for people's entertainment as well. I'm not sure if all this entertainment is a regular occurance or if it was just because of the World Cup but I hope they have it all the time.

Getting inside the actual stadium itself was not a problem at all. The staff were very efficient and we didn't have to queue at all. I've been to a hell of a lot of stadiums, many a lot smaller than this one and this has to be the fastest I have ever entered yet. It was also really easy to find our gate as the stadium is a perfect circle. 

Probably great for Athletics but not for Ball Games!

Once we were inside the stadium we were expecting to be in line for a hell of a long time to get some drinks, especially seeing as it was an Ireland match! We were pleasantly surprised to see that there were barely any queues at all. The fact that they have lines for food+drink as well as a line just for drinks made things much quicker. I'd like to see this at a lot more stadiums as well. The prices were not the worst I've ever seen at a stadium, £4.95 for a bottle of Heineken or Bulmers Cider. It's a rip-off, but then again everything is a rip-off at stadiums. They also had burgers and pies for £5 but I didn't bother to try them. 

Finding our seats was a little bit tricky at first as every column of seats all have the same seat number and you have to match up with your row number to find which one is yours exactly. The first thing I noticed was how good the view of the pitch was. We were behind the posts to the right but we had a completely unobstructed view of everything. It was strange to see lots of seats behind us at the very top of the north and south stands covered up with black covers. I don't know if this was because of capacity health & safety issuses or view problems but I know they could have easily sold all the tickets so I don't know.

Probably great for Athletics but not for Ball Games!

I thing I think I need to mention is the stadium's sound system! I have never heard such a brilliant sound system in any stadium or venue of any kind for that matter. The sound was really loud and crystal clear as well. The stadium announcer could be understood as clear as day. If only the sound from the fans was as good as the sound system!

That brings me onto the main problem I have with the stadium and that has to do with the atmosphere, or rather the complete lack of an atmosphere. There was at least 30,000 Irish fans in the stadium for the match but you would not have known it by how quiet it was. After the initial cheer went up at the kick-off the stadium fell completely silent. I straight away said to my friend that you could hear a pin drop in here! It was strange as you could hear individual voices cheering at the complete opposite side of the stadium. Granted the match was not very exciting at all, but there was something not quite right and I think the fact that you are so far from the action is a big part of the problem. When West Ham take over the stadium I don't know how they will create a great atmosphere!

Probably great for Athletics but not for Ball Games!

In conclusion, I would still recommend the stadium but I think it would be much better to go see an athletics event there rather than a ball game. You feel a bit detached from what's happening on the pitch as you are so far away. 

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