Spurs gear up for first game at £1bn stadium

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy has confirmed that the English Premier League football club’s new stadium will come with a price tag of around £1bn (€1.17bn/$1.32bn) as it prepares to stage its first major event later today (Wednesday).

The Premier League clash against London rivals Crystal Palace marks the end of what has sometimes been a challenging path to delivering the 62,062-seat stadium, which was originally due to open in September 2018.

Levy has been at the heart of the development process for the venue, currently dubbed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium ahead of a potential naming rights deal. Speaking yesterday (Tuesday), Levy admitted that the finished article has been worth the many “sleepless nights” he has suffered over what has been an 18-year process to secure a replacement for the 36,284-seat White Hart Lane.

Levy stated the delays the project has suffered, and the resulting criticism that has followed, was more related to his “perfectionism” and specific requirements for the stadium. He added, according to UK newspaper The Independent: “First of all, I have a very thick skin, so I ignore all the criticism, partly because sometimes when you’re on the inside, maybe you know the other side.

“I’m always there to protect the club. I would say that the last 18 years, this club has definitely gone forward and clearly like any business, any club, you have your ups and downs but I think we’ve created the infrastructure here, to become one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“We had serious sleepless nights on the roof. We wanted glass and everyone said it wasn’t possible. So we found a solution, so this roof will look brand new in five years’ time. If you go to any other stadium, in five years that definitely wouldn’t be the case.”

Levy admitted that the cost of the project has now reached the £1bn mark, but maintains the stadium’s revenue generating ability will offset this in due course. English Premiership rugby union club Saracens yesterday confirmed a five-year deal to play an annual showpiece match at the stadium, while it will host its first NFL games later this year as part of a long-term agreement with the American football league.

Levy added: “The true cost of the stadium we don’t really know at this time as we continue making various improvements but it is of that order (£1bn) and it was all financed privately by the club and by a combination of club revenues and supporting banks.

“In terms of the payback, it’s over the long term. This stadium will be here for way past the lives of any of us and we see increased revenue streams not just from the core football club, but also the other activities that will be taking place on non-matchday.”

Levy also believes Spurs have set a new benchmark for football stadia. He said: “I am a great believer in competition and I have no doubt that, I already know, other clubs are looking at what we’ve done and how can they improve the experience for their own fans. So yes, it will drive up the standard.”

Meanwhile, Tottenham executive director Donna-Maria Cullen has refused to be drawn on whether the club will seek to take legal action against contractors over the delays in the delivery of the stadium.

Asked for her assessment of the performance of those who worked on the job, she told the Construction News website: “You will know that on a scheme of this size there is so much interaction needed and that relies on the likes of contractors, on each other as well. It’s impossible to pick out any one or two, or to make any sweeping generalisation. We got there, that’s the main thing.”

In other news, Tottenham has marked the move into its new stadium by launching a new app. Developed in partnership with LiveStyled, the app encompasses both the in-stadium experience and exclusive club content for fans around the world.

Tottenham will utilise LiveStyled’s technology platform to offer personalisation to fans. By automatically responding to each fan’s location, upcoming matches and the date and time, the new Spurs Official app will present a tailored experience.

For example, a fan based in London who has a ticket for a match could see relevant travel advice, have quick access to their ticket and interactive wayfinding technology so they can find their way around the stadium. Meanwhile, a fan checking the app in South Korea could see pre-match news, video, localised sponsors and a countdown to kick-off.

The app sits at the heart of the club’s digital ecosystem and seeks to take full advantage of the technology at Spurs’ new home. This includes the stadium’s access control, content management system for team news and updates, video player for Spurs TV and club video content, and the high-density WiFi connectivity and Bluetooth beacon solution provided by Aruba as part of the club’s partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Image: Tottenham Hotspur