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Tottenham release details on new stadium’s innovative retractable pitch

The grass football field is designed to slide under the stands to reveal an artificial NFL turf surface.


One of the coolest features of Tottenham Hotspur’s yet-unnamed new stadium in north London is a first-of-its-kind retractable grass pitch that will allow the stadium to be converted for NFL football games. This has been known ever since details about the new stadium were released by the club last year.

But until now, nobody was really sure exactly how that pitch was supposed to work. Today, Spurs released a video via Twitter that gives details on how the retractable pitch works, the technology behind it, and how it is implemented.

The pitch is designed and installed by Sheffield-based engineering firm SCX, who will build and install the pitch in the new stadium over a span of 12 weeks beginning in October.

SCX will design, engineer, build and install the innovative real turf football pitch, which will sit in three pitch-long steel trays, weighing more than 3,000 tonnes each. The surface will split into three sections to show each tray before retracting under the South Stand to reveal the artificial playing surface underneath. The process of switching from one surface to another is expected to take approximately 25 minutes.

Once the grass pitch is returned, the joins are invisible and undetectable allowing for a Premier League quality playing surface every matchday.

With this new field, it is a relatively straightforward procedure to convert the stadium from a Premier League stadium to being able to host American football matches with a short turn-around time, and without the risk of damaging the real grass turf. The club’s partnership with the NFL will not only provide a critical influx of additional cash as the club moves forward, but also positions it nicely to possibly be the future home of an NFL franchise should predicted expansion to London occur in future years.

New technology is cool, and this looks like a system that could be emulated in future multi-use stadiums both in England, USA, and elsewhere as time goes on.