It’s been a year since the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium opened its doors for the first time, and since that time they have yet to announce a corporate sponsor, playing in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium while chairman Daniel Levy searches for some big company willing to pay to put its name on the side. Levy has taken the long road when it comes to sponsorships, getting financial ducks in a row first by arranging favorable loans to finance the cost of the stadium build and focusing on lining up a series of high-profile events such as the NFL deal and events like an Anthony Joshua fight, rugby matches, and a Lady Gaga concert, much of which has now been cancelled.
But the sponsorship deal is still hanging out there, waiting for someone to express interest. According to the Daily Mail (yes, I know), there’s a new player in contention for the sponsorship deal: Amazon.
There’s a certain amount of logic to it. Amazon has already started to make inroads into Premier League broadcasting, striking a deal in 2018 to stream 20 matches a season on its Amazon Prime service starting this year. Tottenham has an even closer working relationship with the retails giants, allowing cameras to follow around its managers and players all season as it produces the upcoming season of “All or Nothing,” a documentary about Spurs 2019-20 season.
Amazon is a giant of modern industry, one of the few companies that could possibly escape the coronavirus crisis not only intact, but in a healthier position than before as consumers flock to its website to order daily necessities while stuck under shelter-in-place orders. The signs are all there for Jeff Bezos to strike up a partnership to slap its smile logo on the roof of some football stadium. Why not Tottenham, with its shiny new state-of-the-art ground?
I’m not here to defend Amazon in any way, shape or form. I have real problems with the way Amazon handles its labor practices (appalling) and working conditions (awful), and I’m likewise very concerned with its hyper-capitalist and near monopolistic business model. It’s a pretty awful company that I nonetheless use frequently and hypocritically.
But honestly, would Tottenham Hotspur playing in the Amazon Stadium be any worse than playing in a stadium named after a giant bank, or an overseas financial conglomerate like AIA or JPMorgan Chase? Daniel Levy is reportedly holding out for a deal worth £25m/year over ten years, a huge number that could make a serious dent in their stadium payments in the long term. There aren’t that many companies or organizations that can do it — probably why Spurs have been playing in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for a year now — and that’s before the coronavirus-induced global depression that’s likely coming. Amazon, by contrast, could probably do it, and might actually want to.
The Mail points out that it has only “expressed interest” in a sponsorship, and that there are a number of other companies also interested, including reportedly, Nike. That this is in the Daily Mail also doesn’t exactly spark a high level of confidence that this rumor is accurate. However, from this we can also infer that as of yet nobody has met Daniel Levy’s asking price, otherwise we’d have heard about a deal by now.
Amazon putting its name on the side of Spurs’ new stadium may make some people wince, myself included a bit, but the stadium sponsor is more than likely going to be a reprehensible company anyway. If the club is going to shackle itself to an EvilCorp, it might as well attach itself to the one with the deepest pockets. That’s just the nature of football. At least under Amazon, it’d be a reprehensible company that everybody knows.