Another new Chelsea signing! Blues snap up Tottenham's American commercial chief... after he failed to get them a stadium naming rights deal

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  • The American was brought to the club in 2021 with high hopes of securing deal
  • But the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium remains without a sponsor three years on
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Todd Kline – the man who failed to land a stadium naming rights sponsor for Tottenham – has resigned to join rivals Chelsea.

The American arrived at the club in 2021 with high hopes of bringing in a lucrative partner for the landmark venue. However, close to three years on, a deal remains elusive and Mail Sport understands he has now stepped down from the role of chief commercial officer and is heading across London to Stamford Bridge

In 2016, Kline was key to an 18-year naming rights for the Dolphins NFL stadium in Miami which saw entertainment venue Hard Rock shell out a reported £180m. 

But his time in north London has seen a substantial turnover within his department with many long-serving and well-liked members of staff leaving the club. And with the stadium still without a sponsor, it has appeared for some time that the writing was on the wall. 

However, he will now cross the capital to Spurs’s rivals and link up with the American leadership team at Chelsea under Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali. While the move has come as a surprise, few at Tottenham are likely to lose any sleep over the switch, according to insiders.

Todd Kline (right) has resigned from his role as chief commercial officer at Tottenham Hotspur

Todd Kline (right) has resigned from his role as chief commercial officer at Tottenham Hotspur

Todd Kline (right) has resigned from his role as chief commercial officer at Tottenham Hotspur

Kline was brought in to land a naming rights sponsor for the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Their landmark, £1bn venue opened in 2019 and is now approaching half a decade without a partner. Such naming rights deals are key to top flight clubs, not least given the impact they have on profit and sustainability rules. Since Kline’s arrival, Spurs have held talks with the likes of Google, Uber, FedEx and Amazon. But a deal – and huge subsequent injection of funds – has failed to materialise.

The tenure of Kline, who was also a club director, has been turbulent. Under his watch long-serving commercial director Fran Jones left to join Brentford in what was viewed as a huge loss. Insiders described the level of turnover in Kline’s department as ‘astonishing’. Some are known to have departed without other jobs to go to. 

Kline’s time at the club also saw them lose a proposed and highly controversial £42.5m deal with South Africa following intervention from the country’s parliament tourism chair.

Kline is leaving Spurs to join Chelsea

Kline is leaving Spurs to join Chelsea

Tottenham are thought to have been seeking £25m a year for a stadium deal, and their search will now continue without Kline. Staff were informed that he had resigned this morning and had been placed on a period of gardening leave. When that period is completed he will join Chelsea. 

Since buying the club from Roman Abramovich there has been a significant shake-up off the field under Boehly and Eghbali as Chelsea have attempted to shift from a club reliant on its owner for cash injections to one which approaches sustainability.  

There has been a long-held view that their commercial operation is significantly underperforming with the level of revenues nowhere near what they should be for an outfit of Chelsea’s size. 

Kline is likely to be tasked with overseeing rapid growth as Chelsea seek to cash in on their global popularity. In a senior business role, he is also likely to be involved in Chelsea’s stadium plans as they seek to either extend Stamford Bridge or relocate. 

Kline would be expected to work on that project with recently-appointed chief operating officer Jason Gannon, a fellow American who was the managing director of SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

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