The future of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Local writer Adair Bergin examines the economic impact of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the surrounding area

The UK and Ireland’s Euro 2028 bid signals the prospect of more international recognition for the Tottenham Hotspur
Stadium. With Tottenham’s tenyear National Football League (NFL) contract, and permission for 16 concerts and major sporting events per year, the stadium has not been short on business.

This month, the stadium was the focus of Beyoncé’s UK tour, hosting the American pop icon for five nights. The financial
advantages of the new stadium are already being realised: in February, the club reported a £444million revenue for 2021/22, an £82m increase on the previous financial year. The stadium is drawing a global audience to Northumberland Park, a significant development for an area that is among the most deprived 10% of wards in the country.

Tottenham Hotspur has declared its commitment to “real meaningful growth for North Tottenham”, with Haringey Council approving planning permission for the new stadium as part of a mixed use rejuvenation plan, the Northumberland Development Project. In the years since work on this project began, it seems that the club has gradually begun to follow through on its promises.

Employment targets are yet to be met as the club recovers from the Covid-19 years. In 2019, the club set itself the target of sourcing 20% of its stadium employees from the local area. Expecting around 1,950 suitable annual vacancies, the goal was to employ 400 locals each year. These projections were based on an estimate of 3,500 staff working on event days. However, the staff pool on the club’s payroll was little over 1,000 for the financial year ending in 2022. Even if the club is successfully maintaining a 20% rate of local employment, only half of its projected local jobs would have been created. Other matchday staff often come from contracted agencies who recruit throughout London and across the country.

However, the club also encourages local employment through outreach and access investment. The stadium will be hosting the not-for-profit London Tottenham Jobs Fair in June and the London Careers Fair in November, introducing Tottenham locals to a range of employers. The club also runs employment advice and training sessions from the community sports centre next to the stadium. The London Academy of Excellence Tottenham,
established in 2017 and funded by the club, has revealed they have above-average A-Level results, sending 75% of its students to Russell Group universities.

Despite displaying an ambiguous philosophy toward housebuilding as a means of economic rejuvenation (Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy remarking in 2022 that “we are ever-conscious that it is not just new homes that people need, it is education and jobs”), the club has plans for several local developments. Housing developments are a sensitive topic in Haringey, where failures to build affordable housing by the council have resulted in high demand. Across three completed
housing projects, the club has directly funded 289 units, 40% of which are affordable. The club aims to build more housing in the Northumberland Park area, seeking planning permission for up to 970 units on sites near the stadium, with a 40% affordable housing provision.

There is a bright future for Tottenham Hotspur as an engine of local development, but success will require ongoing diligence by local stakeholders to ensure that the club continues to meet targets, particularly in affordable housing and local employment. Levy’s recent entreaty for the council to “think big” to help make Tottenham “London’s next premier leisure destination” perhaps suggests that the club’s developments will soon be going in a new direction.

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