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Tottenham’s Stadium Naming Rights: What’s The Value?

Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur have yet to sell the naming rights to their new stadium, creating a huge commercial opportunity ahead of their move later this season.

According to a report in the Telegraph, Tottenham Hotspur’s £20 million a year price tag has been described by some in the industry as a valuation “mismatch” between the market and the club, despite providing significant value for money, and a lower cost than the £80 million a year that Manchester City received from Etihad Airways for their stadium naming rights. So why is this the case?

Despite the £60 million shortfall, Tottenham would be sure to avoid aligning their rights with Manchester City’s Etihad deal because of the Sky Blues’ existing relationship with the airline. There were more factors at play than just a sale of sponsorship rights.

Therefore, we need to compare Tottenham’s price to a more realistic deal, none more suitable than that of their local rivals Arsenal, who earlier this year renewed their partnership with Emirates airline. The Emirates deal was a £200 million, five-year extension on their 13-year partnership that includes the front of shirt sponsorship, stadium naming rights and other activations as Arsenal’s lead partner.

Tottenham’s current shirt sponsorship runs until the end of the 2021-22 season, immediately righting off the possibility of the combined deal at this point in time. However, when Emirates initially partnered with Arsenal, they were only the stadium sponsor and weren’t on the front of shirt until two years later. You would imagine that Tottenham will be looking at a long-term partner which will potentially take ownership of all top-end assets.

With that in mind, the pool of potential lead partners is limited to brands which Tottenham want to associate with in the long-term. It’s not just a question of who can pay the money, but a question of bringing on a brand which shares the club’s values, want the accompanying exposure, and can afford the assets.

A common argument is that brands want targeted marketing, measurable assets and a story telling platform. However, there is much more than meets the eye with naming rights. While a deal of this scale can lack detailed metrics associated with other types of marketing, it remains the ultimate, most prestigious form of sponsorship. The brand becomes synonymous with the club, league and sport as a whole. In Tottenham’s case, this will likely be amplified by the multi-purpose use of the new stadium, including hosting NFL games for the next 10 years.

From our own experience in activating sponsorships for global brands, we know that the innate value and status is not only understood, but desired. Tottenham are a front-running club on the up who present great appeal and endless benefits for prospective brands. For 10 consecutive seasons they have qualified for Europe’s top competitions and regularly finish near the top of the EPL table.

In could be argued that Tottenham’s alleged asking price is reflective of a team that wins the desired trophies, despite not picking up silverware since 2008. However, they have come extremely close to clinching titles in recent years, finishing second in the 2016-17 Premier League season and being considered serious contenders once again, with world class striker Harry Kane spearheading their campaign.