The Sweeper: Tottenham Mortgage their Fans’ Futures

Tottenham Hotspur

Big Story
New models in stadium ticketing don’t come along too often, and when they do, they are rarely great for fans. Many in England will remember the massively unpopular bond schemes dreamed up by clubs such as Arsenal and West Ham in the 1990s when they were scrambling around for a new way to suck cash from fans to pay for needed stadium redevelopment. These schemes saw fans asked to plonk down upwards of £1,000 for the mere right to purchase a season ticket (the actual season ticket cost extra). Not surprisingly, fan protests saw these schemes scrapped.

As Tottenham Hotspur look to fund money for the stadium they need to compete with their neighbours now at Emirates Stadium, another model is being floated: fans would be given the opportunity to purchase their own seat, in a scheme that might cost the fan anywhere from £1,000 to to £5,000 per year over forty years. As the Wall Street Journal says, “For the price of a three-bedroom home with a pool in a leafy suburb, you can now buy something really and truly invaluable. Your own stadium seat.”

The WSJ says Tottenham could be the first professional sports team to try this model, with two colleges in the US already having approved such an “equity seats right” program. The WSJ notes in passing that “though the idea may seem preposterous—and even repellent—given the state of the economy, proponents say the plan is actually a boon for serious fans because it allows them to circumvent the annual pain of rising ticket prices”.

This, of course, is the rub: with so many people right now defaulting on their actual house mortgages, some might indeed see it as rather repellent of a club owned by a tax-exiled billionaire to raise this. As for the value, some seats in MLS, at least, are also sold as long-term contracts with locked-in limits on the size of season ticket raises. Certainly, though, owning equity in the seat has a value to it and Tottenham’s idea sure beats the bond schemes of the 1990s.  Would you be interested in owning a seat at your club?

Worldwide News

  • The mess at Portsmouth only gets worse, a warning to all who have put their faith in sugar daddies: the players haven’t been paid this week, and now the chief executive Peter Storrie has admitted “there is no money left”.
  • The Chief Operating Officer of WPS explains the ins-and-outs of the league’s waiver process.  It’s too much for my head this morning, but it is good to see a league official using a blog to explain this kind of thing. MLS could learn a lesson.
  • A US businessman’s attempt to buy Bari has collapsed.
  • Goal.com looks at the preparations in Angola for the 2010 African Cup of Nationsall is not well, as Danny Jordaan’s comment is hardly a ringing endorsement: “As for now, no decision has been taken as to whether or not Angola is ready.”  Jordaan is heading South Africa’s preparations for the World Cup, with FIFA yesterday announcing they were satisfied with that country’s readiness for the tournament.
  • Remember Michael Johnson (not the runner)?  The Manchester City starlet of just two years ago has gotten lost in the deluge of new, overpaid stars coming to the club. The Times looks at what went wrong.
  • There’s more on the murky mess at Notts County from the Guardian, as the story gets increasingly bizarre. I give Sven til the end of October to get the hell out of there.
  • It’s the second matchday in the Europa League group stage. Bill has another beautiful map of the contenders, while Jamie Jackson wonders who cares.

The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.

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