SBD/January 14, 2011/Facilities

Tottenham Expects $238M For Naming Rights To Olympic Stadium

EPL club Tottenham Hotspur expects to earn at least around $238M (all figures U.S.) from "selling the naming rights to a new stadium on the Olympic Park in East London," according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. Tottenham Chair Daniel Levy is "understood to be eyeing a ten-year deal with a sponsor if the Olympic Park Legacy Company chooses the club as the preferred tenant" for the site after the '12 London Games. A revamped stadium at White Hart Lane, the team's current facility, "would not be expected to attract anywhere near the same level of commercial interest because of the difficulty in renaming established football grounds in common parlance." O'Connor writes the estimated $238M Tottenham "could earn from relocating to the Olympic Park -- sold in conjunction with shirt sponsorship -- would help to explain the club's serious interest in the 200-year lease, which was initially dismissed by sceptics as a pure negotiating ploy." A naming-rights deal "would help Tottenham to finance" their $395M plan to "demolish two thirds of the [$790M] Olympic Stadium after the Games and erect a 60,000-seat football stadium on its foundations." O'Connor notes EPL club West Ham United, a rival bidder for the stadium, has "budgeted for naming rights to be worth up to" $19M a year (LONDON TIMES, 1/14). IOC President Jacques Rogge Thursday said that LOCOG officials "can take any decision they want regarding the track inside the Olympic stadium after the Games have ended." Rogge: "The IOC has absolutely no say on what will happen with the London stadium (after the Games). We would favour as outsiders a solution with a track legacy. But ... don't expect the IOC to intervene forcefully" (REUTERS, 1/13).

SENSITIVE SUBJECT: In London, Brendan Gallagher wrote, "The Olympic Stadium is not Spurs' to knock down. It's not their call. How dare they even think it. We have all paid for it as a nation, both in hard cash and with [our] commitment to sport over the years. We want to see it there as a centre of excellence and a harbour for our greatest Olympic memories until the day it starts falling down. It is not for a middle ranking Premiership football side somewhere in North London, looking for commercial gain, to unilaterally decide to dynamite it." Gallagher noted London's '05 bid for the Games "promised the preservation of the Olympic Stadium as a venue capable of staging world class international athletics," and he wrote, "I expect the promises of the successful 2005 bid to be upheld to the absolute letter. ... There is no sense or logic in knocking down our own Olympic Stadium, an iconic location that is set to become Britain's pride and joy" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 1/13).

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