Nearly two years have elapsed since Tottenham Hotspur opened their new stadium in April 2019. In that time, the club has yet to find a corporate sponsor willing to pay chairman Daniel Levy’s asking price for naming rights. Now, Matt Law writes in the Telegraph (£) that Spurs have executed yet another shake-up at the very top of the club hierarchy in order to facilitate that deal.
The club has brought in former NFL executive Todd Kline, most recently with the Miami Dolphins, as its new Chief Commercial Officer, with his primary role being to secure the naming rights for what is now called the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. This move constitutes a major delegation of responsibility for Daniel Levy, who up to this point had been working on securing the naming rights deal personally.
According to Law, Levy was hoping for a deal worth £25m/year for 15 years, which would make it the biggest stadium naming rights deal in the world. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial hit taken by Premier League clubs have made that difficult over the past year. Kline has been brought in with experience specific to this area of negotiation.
Most recently, Levy has held discussions with a major utilities provider but he has been unable to agree a deal and finding a suitable sponsor will now be part of Kline’s remit.
Kline has experience in the field after helping to land the 18-year naming rights deal for the Miami Dolphins Stadium with entertainment venue Hard Rock, which was worth a reported £180m.
—Matt Law, The Telegraph
Since opening the stadium, Spurs have shuffled the deck chairs at the top level of management a couple of times, most recently this fall when they reorganized in order to hire Trevor Birch as Director of Football Operations. Birch left Spurs after only a few months in order to head the EFL, and Spurs have not filled his position yet.
Levy delegating this piece of his responsibilities is a pretty major development, and a positive one if you think that he should be doing less corporate schmoozing and more focusing on the football side of operations. Going two years without a stadium naming rights deal is pretty unusual, COVID aside, and this may be a sign that either Levy is comfortable dropping his price demands slightly or that it’s time for a fresh approach from someone with experience in this area.
The naming rights represents a potentially huge source of income for Tottenham, one that has heretofore been untapped due to Levy’s insistence of getting the best deal in the world. Maybe that won’t happen now, but getting (merely) a very good deal would still be incredibly important to the future of the club. If bringing in a former NFL executive is what gets something across the line, then it would be a shrewd move by Levy to give up this part of the project.