“Tottenham Hotspur Stadium” it is then. There has been a lot of discussion about the naming rights for the new ground, but if Football.London correspondent Alasdair Gold is to be believed, we will not have an agreement in place for a stadium name for the start of the season.
In some respects, this could be seen as a setback. After all, it is costing £850m to build, and you need as many income streams as possible to pay such an amount off. Yet, we are not said to be in a situation where we desperately need a sponsor to make ends meet.
Daniel Levy has been adamant that the club’s financial situation means that a naming rights deal wasn’t integral to ensuring the stadium opened, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important for the long-term financial security of the club.
Rivals Arsenal took a long time to pay back what they owed for their new ground, and their contract with Emirates Airlines no doubt helped them to balance the books in a shorter period of time.
The building of our state-of-the-art ground took £340m from the club’s own coffers, including an interim financing deal which we drew £100m from. A new loan announced in May last year has seen us borrow £400m from lenders including Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and HSBC.
That financing has been secured against the stadium itself, as well as commercial and match-day revenues. Naming rights is therefore still a key commercial revenue stream to pay off the 62,000 seater arena.
It has been suggested that we will wait for the stadium to be finished in order to impress prospective sponsors. With it being promoted as the most innovative and advanced sports stadium in the world, that may bring in a potential partner with a high, multi-year offer.
However, my gut feeling is this is again Daniel Levy playing hardball. He likely has some offers on the table already, but he is holding out for the best deal possible. In the minutes of the Supporters Trust Meeting in February, he hinted as much. When confirming talks with interested parties, he said they “will only contract when they are satisfied with the price, the tenure and the counterparty.” Quite clearly nobody has satisfied all three criteria as of yet.