For the 2017-18 Premier League season Tottenham Hotspur will not play their home matches at White Hart Lane as the stadium and surrounding area will be regenerated. Previously, I discussed this project in light of the Coase theorem and bargaining.
Two ground share options have been proposed and are currently being pursued. These involve Tottenham playing home matches at either Wembley or Stadium:MK in Milton Keynes. The Tottenham fans have expressed a preference to play at Wembley, despite it being a more expensive option, and have also suggested that remaining within London is important to the club’s identity. Emotions may seem to trump logic here as sharing the Olympic stadium with West Ham, the Emirates with Arsenal or Stamford Bridge with Chelsea are non-runners for reasons that do not need to be discussed.
If Tottenham cannot secure Wembley, why not Croke Park? In Dublin lies a stadium with a 82,300 capacity and is home to largely summer sports. I'm sure the GAA could earn impressive revenues from renting Croke Park to Tottenham for the winter and spring months and Tottenham would have access to one of the world’s finest stadiums, a capacity far greater than Stadium:MK and fewer logistical problems associated with sharing a ground. They would play in an international city with transport links to all major European airports.
Is the proposal crazy? It may easily be - I am not familiar with the rules in the area and it could easily be the case that Premier League matches must take place in England or Wales. There is also a question of demand.I’m sure Tottenham versus Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City would be full houses in Croke Park but, for instance, how many fans would be attracted to a home tie in the Europa Cup on a cold Thursday night? Finally, would this be opening a can of worms in terms of the further internationalisation of the Premier League? Yes – if Tottenham played in Croke Park, despite it only being for an interim period, why not play Premier League games in Beijing or New York? This is an endeavour I can foresee in the future.
The Londoners would clearly lose out, as would the League of Ireland (who previously had objections to Wimbledon playing in Dublin). The Irish Tottenham fans would of course be very happy, as would other Premier League fans in Ireland, who would get to see their favourite team play Premier League matches in Ireland. Would it make economic and logistical sense for Tottenham? Perhaps, especially given the stadiums capacity.
The happiest of all – surely Michael O'Leary!