One of the big pieces that has yet to be resolved about Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium (apart from what will be stocked in the cheese room) is what giant corporation will eventually put its name on the wall. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has yet to finalize a naming rights deal for the new stadium, and as such it is currently set to open as The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
However, an intriguing article in SportsPro is reporting that there’s at least one big player that wants to get involved in Premier League sports sponsorship - Qatar Airways.
According to SportsPro, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar al-Baker has dropped hints that he is “negotiating” with “several options” for corporate sponsorship in the Premier League. The airline has reportedly wanted to get involved with the Premier League for quite some time.
Now, to be clear, this doesn’t mean that Qatar Airways is likely, or even interested, in sponsoring Tottenham Hotspur. There are any number of ways that the company could get involved in the Premier League, and “several options” could mean just that.
Quite honestly, I kind of hope they don’t, and aren’t interested in Spurs at all. The airline is owned and operated by the Qatari government and appears to be connected to all kinds of shady deals right now, not least of which are its connections to the bombshell Football Leaks report that suggested its government had corrupt complicity in the launching of beIN Sports in France and the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Football Leaks headline: Nicolas Sarkozy told Emir of Qatar Tamim Al-Thani in a meeting in 2010 that if he bought PSG & launched a sports channel in France (BeIN Sports), that he would instruct Michel Platini to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup.— Get French Football News (@GFFN) November 2, 2018
There’s also the human rights abuses that have been well documented in the construction of the 2022 World Cup stadiums over the past few years, and any other number of unsettling reports involving Qatar.
A Qatari sponsorship would no doubt be extremely lucrative to whichever club they decide to sponsor, and the truth is that there’s a decently good chance that whoever does end up with the naming rights to Spurs’ new stadium is likely going to be at least somewhat gross. There just aren’t that many huge banks, companies, or sovereign wealth funds that can put in the kind of money that Levy wants.
Still, I’d put up with a kinda-gross corporate sponsor if the alternative is a super-gross one, and Qatar Airways would fall into the latter category, even if the end result is a little less money in the bank. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.