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Ornstein: Tottenham in talks with Google over stadium naming rights deal

“Nah mate I got tickets vs. United at the Google”

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In this photo illustration, a woman holds a smartphone with... Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tottenham Hotsur’s new stadium has been open for three and a half years without a sponsor name. This is unusual. When it opened in April of 2019, Daniel Levy formally announced that Spurs’ new ground would be known as “The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium” until such time as a naming rights deal could be established. But enough time has passed, which has included a global pandemic which has sapped the global economy in a rather significant way, that I’m sure a lot of fans have started to wonder if it might just stay this way

However, now there’s fresh news. David Ornstein is writing in his weekly column in The Athletic that Tottenham Hotspur are in serious talks with Google over a stadium naming rights deal. No dollar figures were reported, but considering Tottenham has waited three years for the right deal, you’d have to think it will be significant.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has successfully leveraged the club’s new stadium into a destination not only for football, but for other sports. This weekend concluded the third year of a multi-year arrangement with the National Football League that saw the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium host two NFL gridiron games at its home; the stadium was purpose-built to host NFL games complete with a retractable grass field with NFL-ready field turf below it. The stadium has also hosted rugby union matches major boxing bouts, and concerts including Guns & Roses and Lady Gaga.

Ornstein also notes that Google have been getting into the sports sponsorship biz over the past few years; it notes specifically its recent sponsorship deal with McLaren’s Formula 1 team, along with similar deals with the NBA and MLB. Any deal is likely going to be significant for Tottenham, too — Spurs have narrowed the financial gap to the mega rich clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea and are basically running equal to Liverpool and Arsenal... and that’s without a stadium sponsorship deal. Add that in and they’ll have even more money to spend on transfers going forward.

All stadium sponsors, especially ones at this level, are going to be gross multinational companies and you won’t have to dig too hard to find examples of Google being a shady company doing shady company things. But in the grand scheme of things, Google would be a significant better sponsor than a lot of other options. It wouldn’t have been a shock to see the best deal come from an immoral international investment bank, or a petro-state’s sovereign wealth fund (hi, Emirates Stadium), or Amazon. Google is far from perfect, but it’s a lot less bad than a lot of other potential options.

Nothing has been finalized, and so there’s a chance that this could still go sideways. That’s business for you. But I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more about this deal in the weeks and months ahead. And I’d bet the stadium will have the best wifi in England.

It got us in the writers’ room thinking: if the Google deal goes through what would that mean for the stadium? What would it be called? Would it have a nickname? We complied a quick list of possibilities below; add your own in the comments.

  • The Google Stadium
  • The Oooooooooooooooo
  • The Googleplex
  • The Algorithm
  • The Alphabet Stadium
  • The Search Engine