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Transport for London to rename White Hart Lane station “Tottenham Hotspur”

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This opens up TFL to criticism for supporting corporate branding, but would help Spurs as they seek a new stadium sponsor.

Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City - Premier League Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

It’s not fully decided yet, but it’s looking like the name White Hart Lane will be eradicated completely once Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium is open. The Guardian is reporting today that a deal seems to be in place for Transport for London to rename the White Hart Lane tube overground station to “Tottenham Hotspur” with support from London mayor Saddiq Khan.

There’s been talk about this for a while now, and there’s also been resistance to the idea. Tottenham seem to want to eliminate the “White Hart Lane” name from public discourse in connection with the club after the opening of their new stadium, mostly because they feel having that as a tube overground stop could impact corporate sponsorship of the new stadium. And they have a point — branding is everything, and it undercuts a potential sponsor’s position if a ton of fans get off at the old stadium’s name before every home match.

However, there are some who are hesitant to the idea. Transport for London typically doesn’t sell the names of stations to corporate interests, and there’s a strong argument that Spurs are a corporate interest. The Guardian notes that former London mayor Boris Johnson was resistant to the White Hart Lane station name change because it potentially opened a slippery slope to other corporate interests purchasing their own station naming rights, and due to the cost of having to re-make tons and tons of maps and signs throughout the Transport for London network.

The Guardian also notes that while the public will be allowed to give input on the proposal, privately Spurs are already saying that the name change is happening regardless. That’s not necessarily a good look for the club, even if the change would be a net gain for their interests. It’s quite possible that the club could get pushback from Tottenham fans who are upset that the name “White Hart Lane” is actively being consigned to the dustbin of history in connection with the club. (The White Hart Lane street, of course, will remain.)

If the name change were to go ahead, Tottenham Hotspur Station would be just the second station to be named after a current Premier League club — Arsenal Station on the Picadilly Line has been in existence since the 1930s.

Note: This artcle has been edited slightly from its original version after several emails from London residents noting on the intricacies (and weirdness) of the London transport system.