A minimum of two NFL games per year will be played at Tottenham’s new state-of-the-art stadium under a 10-year-deal agreed between the English Premier League club and American football chiefs, it was confirmed Wednesday.
A joint statement from the NFL and Tottenham said the Spurs’ new 61,000-seat home would feature a retractable grass pitch for football, with an artificial surface underneath for gridiron.
“With growing enthusiasm for the NFL in the United Kingdom, we are committed to hosting NFL games in world-class venues and are excited to partner with Tottenham Hotspur to play games at their future stadium,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“We share a vision and commitment to creating the best experience for our teams, fans and the local community.”
Tottenham’s new stadium, which is due to be ready for the 2018-2019 season, is part of a 20-acre urban regeneration development in north London.
The statement said that in addition to the two NFL games per year set to take place at Tottenham, other matches may take place at different venues in Britain.
“We have an opportunity now to deliver one of the most unique sporting and entertainment venues in the world, bringing together the EPL and NFL for the first time,” said Daniel Levy, chairman of Tottenham Hotspur.
“The socio-economic benefits this will bring to the area will be immense and demonstrates our commitment to the regeneration of this priority borough in London.”
London mayor Boris Johnson hailed the agreement, saying he hoped it would ultimately lead to the establishment of a permanent NFL franchise in London.
“The wise heads that run the NFL have clearly not missed the fact that Londoners are going absolutely gangbusters for Gridiron,” Johnson said.
“Touchdowns in Tottenham can only add to our reputation as a global sporting powerhouse, and help us take another step towards our goal of having a permanent NFL franchise here in London.”
Since 2007, the NFL has run an International Series of regular season fixtures in London, with the New York Giants meeting the Miami Dolphins.
In 2015, three-regular season NFL games will be played at Wembley — with the Miami Dolphins playing the New York Jets on October 4, followed by the Jacksonville Jaguars meeting with the Buffalo Bills on October 25. The Kansas City Chiefs play the Detroit Lions on November 1. – Agence France-Presse