Route 66 for West Ham as USA beckons ahead of Olympic Stadium move

American Eagle

West Ham United's season is far from over with so much to play for but pre-season planning has started in earnest ahead of the club's big stadium move.

The Hammers will leave their Boleyn Ground home of 112 years in the summer when they move to the 60,010 seater Olympic Stadium in Stratford.

While there has been speculation about a stellar club opening the new ground in a major friendly match before next season, plans for a tour to increase the club's global presence are also in progress.

West Ham have previously toured the likes of New Zealand, Germany and Asia as the emphasis on growing the the West Ham London brand.

In the summer the East Londoners had a more competitive pre-season as they played a series of Europa League qualifiers which ultimately ended in failure.

Go West...Ham

But this summer it is believed the club will be back on their travels again as part of a pre-arranged tour possibly to the USA.

Unofficial West Ham internet forums have reported the club could play Seattle Sounders, who play at the hugely impressive 67,000 capacity CenturyLink Field (pictured), and Houston Dynamo with a third game yet to be arranged.

While there has been no official confirmation from the club, speaking to Sports Pro before Christmas West Ham's commercial director Felicity Barnard revealed she had been busy making arrangements for a pre-season tour.

"Now we are seeing that as we are growing and our fanbase is growing, the types of brands that are interested are very different so they are looking for global expansion," Barnard told Sports Pro at the time.

"We went on tour last season to New Zealand which for the very first tour that you go on with a football club is probably the furthest away you can go, but it was fantastic.

"What that did, that demonstrated to the club, but also to our fans, that we're a global club and we're a club that has aspirations to be in the top six.

"You know in a couple of years, we have money coming in, we really do have those aspirations to get up there.

"We need to establish and confirm a tour and a pre-season strategy which has to be done before Christmas because it makes the playing side happy."

American influence

A trip to the US would also give Hammers fans based across the Atlantic the chance to see superstars like Dimitri Payet up close.

It would also tie in with speculation this season linking the club with some major US events.

The vice president of America's NFL confirmed earlier in the campaign that he is exploring the possibility of bringing the sport to West Ham United's new Olympic Stadium home as part of a new partnership.

And Telegraph Sport revealed that serious talks have taken place over bringing a series of Major League Baseball matches to the Hammers' new ground, potentially as early as 2017.

So watch this space because it could be star spangled Hammers this summer.

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