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The NFL and Tottenham Hotspur have agreed to play a minimum of two games per year at the English Premier League team’s new stadium in London during a 10-year partnership.
The state-of-the-art stadium, due to open in the summer of 2018, will feature a retractable grass field with an artificial surface underneath that would be used for NFL games. This innovative field will add greater flexibility when scheduling games by providing the NFL with its own playing surface for games played at this venue.
Read how the NFL certifies its playing surfaces.
“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.”
In addition to the minimum of two games per year at the new Tottenham site, other NFL games may take place at different venues in the UK during the span of the 10-year agreement. The NFL has two seasons remaining on a successful arrangement with Wembley Stadium, where it has so far staged 11 games since 2007, and is optimistic that the relationship will be extended beyond 2016.
“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.”
“Anyone who has seen American Football at Wembley Stadium cannot fail to have been thrilled by the spectacle, and the wise heads that run the NFL have clearly not missed the fact that Londoners are going absolutely gangbusters for Gridiron,” said London Mayor, Boris Johnson.
“We are already working very closely with the NFL, including on plans to get more Londoners involved in the sport, and we believe that building on the success of NFL at Wembley by staging more games in an area of the city that has been earmarked for a massive program of economic regeneration and investment makes perfect sense.”
The NFL International Series began on October 28, 2007, when the New York Giants defeated the Miami Dolphins 13-10. Three regular-season NFL games will be played at Wembley Stadium in London in 2015, including a first-ever division game in the UK when the Miami Dolphins host the New York Jets on October 4.
Another first: games will be played on consecutive Sundays when the Jacksonville Jaguars face the Buffalo Bills on October 25 (also the first free live stream of an NFL game to a global audience) and the Kansas City Chiefs meet the Detroit Lions on November 1.
The International Series to date has contributed to increased NFL fan interest in the UK, with a current fan base of 13 million, including more than three million avid fans, a 50 percent increase in the past three years.
Participation in amateur football in the UK has risen since the start of the International Series by approximately 15 percent per year since 2007.
Read more on the NFL and EPL’s new agreement.