West Ham United have attracted significant media attention this week as they say goodbye to the Boleyn Ground. Next season the Hammers will play their home matches at the Olympic Stadium. This move will significantly increase match day revenues. But will it alter performances on the field? While every stadium move is of course different, resources are usually directed away from investment in the team in light of the move. There may also be a 'settling in' effect as a team and its supporters acclimatise to their new environs (pitches size, etc.)
The chart below shows the finishing position in the English football league for eight clubs that have moved stadium since 2000. The graph plots the finishing position of each club five seasons prior to their move and five seasons after their move. A scale of 1-92 is adopted as many of the clubs have been relegated or promoted. MK Dons and Rotherham United were left out as these were more complex than most other stadium switches. There are limits to representing the data like this; most importantly is the fact that is only possible for teams to finish within a range of positions depending on their division.
Hull City, Brighton and Swansea all reaped the rewards of a stadium move in the short run. They show a steady increase in performance after the move, achieving promotions in the 5 five years after switching to a new stadium. Southampton and Leicester City performances declined after moving stadium - both were relegated in the five year period after moving from The Dell and Filbert Street respectively. As we all know, both of these clubs have bounced back in the longer run. Southampton moved in 2001 and Leicester City moved in 2002.
Arsenal were not outside the top 4 prior to or after their stadium move. Naturally Arsenal can't finish any higher than first and they have other motivations outside of the English Premier League such as improved performance in European competitions.