Tottenham Hotspur are on the road this weekend, traveling to Brighton to hopefully get three points and wash the stench of humiliation off of the club. However, there will still be football just off the Tottenham High Road — American football. The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host the first ever National Football League game in Spurs’ new ground on Sunday as they welcome the Oakland Raiders and the Chicago Bears.
Sunday’s game is the culmination of Daniel Levy’s vision and ambition for Spurs’ new home ground to serve as a center of sport in London, and not just association football. The stadium is designed with a state of the art retractable soccer pitch that reveals an artificial turf NFL playing surface underneath, and the facilities contain expanded locker rooms that are able to host the much larger NFL teams and their staff.
Spurs entered into an agreement with the NFL in 2017, before the new stadium was finished, that would see Tottenham host 1-2 NFL games at the new ground per season for the next ten years. These games are in part replacing Wembley Stadium as host, and it’s a good thing since new White Hart Lane was designed with the NFL in mind, while Wembley... wasn’t.
The NFL is rising in popularity in the UK and has been for a while, and these games will not only benefit Tottenham financially but will also raise the profile of the NFL in Europe, potentially leading to a permanent London-based franchise sometime in the future... and that franchise might play all their home games at Spurs’ ground.
NFL UK Managing Director Alistair Kirkwood told Sky Sports News that Saturday’s game kicks off an exciting new era for the league, and for Spurs.
“Ultimately it is [Levy]’s vision and it is all down to him. Kudos needs to go to him.
”The whole concept of having a NFL field underneath a Premier League football field, when we first got told about it there were open mouths trying to work out how it would actually work.
“Not only did he sell it to us, but he carried it off. I hope he will be proud on Sunday when we play that first game.
”We’re blessed and honoured with where we are currently at with regards to stadiums.
”Wembley is a home from home for us, that’s something really special. Then, to be able to ground share with a Premier League team, have our own field and have our own locker rooms is incredibly exciting.”
The Bears and Raiders kick off Sunday, October 6 at 1:00 p.m. ET, 6:00 p.m. BST. The second and final NFL game at Tottenham will take place a week later on Sunday, October 13 when the Carolina Panthers play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; kick-off time is a rare 9:30 a.m. ET/2:30 p.m. BST.