“Not the greatest time.
A four-year commercial partnership with TFC, who are part of the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) empire that includes the National Hockey League Maple Leafs and National Basketball Association Raptors, will be key to that goal and provide Tottenham with an entry point into the North American market coveted by the world’s top clubs.
The TFC-Tottenham partnership was formed during negotiations that brought prolific Spurs striker Jermain Defoe to Toronto in a reported $10 million deal that made a big splash in North America.. Could you help us as part of this transaction?”.
If Spurs are to challenge the Real Madrids and Manchester Uniteds, ranked one and three on the most recent Forbes list of the world’s most valuable sporting franchises, they must not only win trophies but the bigger battle for global popularity.
“With Tottenham, we have the opportunity to learn from guys who have a long and rich heritage in football.”
For Tottenham, ambition comes not only on the pitch but off it as well.
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)
In return, Hopkinson says Spurs will sell Toronto FC merchandise at White Hart Lane.
From a purely competition perspective, travelling nearly halfway around the world for a friendly against the Seattle Sounders last Saturday, followed by a cross-country jaunt to Canada for a date with Toronto FC before wrapping up at the weekend in Chicago against the Fire is not the ideal way to begin preparations for the upcoming Premier League season.
“For me, I just hope they come out unscathed.”
Certainly there are riches to be mined in North America.
“They (Spurs) see North America as an opportunity,” said Hopkinson. For Nelsen, who himself had a brief stint with Tottenham during his playing career, the game was an even greater distraction.
Sitting third in the MLS Eastern Conference standings, the Reds played Houston on Saturday followed by the friendly against Tottenham with a game against table-topping Sporting KC looming large on Saturday as they try to reach the post-season for the first time in their eight-year history.
TORONTO Neither Tottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino nor Toronto FC’s Ryan Nelsen seemed particularly enthused about their mid-week friendly but smiled grudgingly while accepting the match as part of today’s global football reality where new fans and revenue streams must be cultivated.
“This is a very good relationship with Toronto, this is a commercial relationship, this is important for our club and Toronto,” said Pochettino, in a pre-match press conference.
But from a commercial standpoint, the whirlwind visit has been trumpeted as a success, helping the Spurs grow their brand while tapping into new lucrative markets.
Tottenham will play three such matches against Major League Soccer (MLS) opposition on a brief North American pre-season swing, a barnstorming expedition where the score lines will not matter nearly as much as the other numbers that will be crunched by the club’s sponsorship and marketing departments.
“It emerged as we started talking about what it would take for Tottenham to transfer Jermain to us,” David Hopkinson, MLSE chief commercial officer told Reuters.
For both men, Wednesday’s encounter was a meaningless contest where sporting and business interests collide.
At a friendly against the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday, Manchester United debuted Chevrolet as the team’s jersey sponsor, a seven-year deal that will pay the English football club $559 million.
Jersey sales are a major source of income for the world’s top football brands and Spurs also hope to gain a bigger slice of that pie with the help of MLSE, which will sell official Tottenham merchandise at its various outlets.
“At Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment we have the Leafs, a 100-year-old franchise, and the Raptors, a 20-year-old franchise. We have good experience in these spaces but really we are still new to the football business,” Hopkinson told Reuters.
“We could have just cut a cheque but they were interested saying, “Hey, you have a sophisticated sports organisation in North America, we’re interested in building the Tottenham Hotspur brand over there. City to play on Saturday,” said Nelsen. “Tottenham are not the most popular brand of English Premier League football here, so can we help them climb from sixth to fifth to fourth to eventually unseat Manchester United as one of the world’s most popular football brands?
“It’s not easy for us because we are in the middle of our pre-season but we understand that the club is a big club, that they have to come here for different things.”
“We are going to do everything we can to support that.”
Pochettino, in his first year in charge at White Hart Lane, has been provided with a sobering introduction into the concessions and demands placed on one of football’s glamour clubs who seek to climb ever higher up the sport’s food chain.
As part of that agreement the two clubs will develop cross-promotions, marketing and branding opportunities while sharing their expertise.
With a new stadium on the way and more big money transfers targeted, Spurs are looking to do more than sell a few jerseys from their MLSE partnership.
“For the English media, for you guys, it would be like playing a game in the Christmas period when you are third in the league and you’ve got Man
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