The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is set to host its first NFL match on October 14 when the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks come to London. It’s supposed to be one of the first major non-soccer events in the new stadium, a major test of the stadium’s ability to host American football games and the new state of the art retractable pitch.
However, construction projects are tricky things, and the NFL has apparently built in a “get out of jail free” card. According to Matt Hughes in the Times, there is the option to move the Raiders-Seahawks match to Wembley Stadium if there are further delays to the completion of the stadium.
This doesn’t mean there are concerns that the stadium won’t be completed on time, or that there’s any imminent danger that the NFL would consider moving the game. In fact, everything appears to be going according to plan as of now. Spurs have previously announced two “test events” in the coming weeks — a match featuring Spurs’ development squad, and a “legends” charity match between former pros from Spurs and Bayern Munich.
While they will play a string of Premier League games to open the season, Tottenham have announced their first home match will be against Liverpool on September 15, one month before the NFL comes to town. There may be aspects of the stadium that will still be incomplete by that date — stadium detailing, perhaps a few internal non-essential hospitality spaces (the cheese room, perhaps?) — but all recent communications from the club suggest a strong confidence that the stadium will be ready to host large numbers of people by mid-September.
The NFL deal is a lucrative one for Tottenham — the ten-year agreement with the NFL will see them host “at least” one American football game per year in the stadium, and it could eventually become the home of a future London-based NFL franchise.
Update: The NFL UK has responded via Twitter, saying basically “Well, duh, of course we have a contingency plan.” There still does not appear to be any reason to be concerned that the game would need to be moved.