New stadium to host one initial NFL game next season

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

According to an ESPN article our new stadium will host just one NFL fixture in 2018, with Wembley retaining two of the three matches in the capital, the National Football League has announced.

In the first confirmed event at our yet-to-be-named new home, the Oakland Raiders will host the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 14th

The article adds that the absence of a second fixture at the redeveloped White Hart Lane raises doubts about the readiness of the 61,559-capacity stadium and the surrounding area, after the club announced a 10-year deal with the NFL to host at least two matches per year in July 2015.

However the NFL’s executive vice president Mark Waller said the single game was in line with the first years the NFL played at other sites in London. Wembley hosted the first NFL London game in 2007 and did not host two fixtures in the same year until 2013, while Twickenham hosted one match in 2016 before moving on to two last year.

“We are very excited about playing our first game at Tottenham’s magnificent new stadium and will follow our usual pattern of playing one game in our first season at a new venue, as we did at Wembley and Twickenham in previous years,” Waller said.

He added: “This enables us to achieve important learnings relating to the fans’ preferences, ticketing, team logistics and local transportation and infrastructure in order to create the best possible experience and environment. We will play an additional game at Tottenham in a future season, over and above the planned two per year, to make up for this.”

The article goes on to say that London mayor Sadiq Khan also said in a release that the city will “look forward to going back to staging at least four NFL games in London” in the future.

It goes on to say that the club’s £800 million arena will feature the world’s first dividing retractable football pitch, with an artificial surface underneath that will be used for NFL games and concerts, and a dedicated NFL entrance and there will also be NFL-sized dressing rooms and dedicated NFL medical and media facilities, while the stadium has been designed to ensure the sight lines are as good for NFL as for football.

It adds how the NFL have contributed £10m towards the tailoring of the stadium, while Spurs and the league will split gate receipts and food, drink and merchandise sales from NFL matches there.

Spurs are of course spending this season at Wembley and they have the option to spend a further year at the national stadium as a contingency if their new home is not ready for the start of next term.

The article adds how contractors are working 24 hours per day, seven days a week on the stadium site and Levy, who reiterated his desire to one day share the stadium with a permanent NFL London franchise, said he was confident the ground would be ready in time.

“Unless there are unforeseen circumstances, I am very confident, and I wouldn’t be sitting here today otherwise, saying that the season we are about to enter in August, we will be playing our games here from the start of next season,” he said.It

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