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Daniel Levy, chairman of Tottenham Hotspur, does not
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like to take 'no' for an answer. He imagined a custom-built stadium that could both both Premier League and NFL games. He could even see a time when a Spurs home match and an NFL game featuring a London franchise could take place on the same day. But people around him doubted his vision. "I knew how compelling and unique it would be bringing the world's two most popular sports together in one stadium," Levy said .
Despite the doubt, Levy and the club went through with the plans. The new stadium, which is sprouting next to the site of Spurs' old White Hart Lane ground in north London at a cost of £ 850 million, is due to be completed in time for the start of the 2018-19 Premier League soccer season starting in August. The 61,000-seater stadium will be the first arena in Britain ever built with the needs of American football in mind.
And on Thursday, his dream came another step closer the the NFL announced that the first NFL match in the 10-year deal between Spurs and the NFL would see the Oakland Raiders host the Seattle Seahawks on October 14.
"The efforts we are making mean that the stadium is designed to cater for anything an NFL side could desire, as opposed to feeling like they are renting a stadium."
While Wembley Stadium and Twickenham have been successful London hosts for the NFL, Having now staged 21 matches between them since 2007, adaptations have always been made when the NFL comes to town, particularly because of the sheer number of people who are on and surrounding the pitch for games. "For instance, at a Twickenham NFL game, we have to knock down a bar that's adjacent to a dressing room in order to build the room up to an adequate size," said Alistair Kirkwood, Customized Basketball Jerseys NFL UK managing director.
"Now, though we've have a stadium that's unique in the world, not just Britain. I can not think of anywhere where two major sports not only share a stadium but [also] have
The Spurs stadium is the result of unprecedented cooperation and planning between the club and the NFL, which though it has never released any details of its financial commitment, is understood to have pumped £ 10 million into backing the project.
"It is vital [that the NFL has] been part of every aspect of the construction because we want the stadium to be Customized Football Jerseys seen as a joint soccer and NFL venue," Levy said.
An aeriel view shows just how much the footprint of the new stadium dwarfs the previous incarnation of White Hart Lane. Tottenham Hotspur FC / Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images
The stadium is designed with one side as a dedicated soccer entrance and the other a dedicated NFL entrance. "There are a wealth of adviser that come with making this stadium purpose-built for two sports," Levy added. "We need to ensure we have sufficient space to provide for both and the capability to turnaround from one event to another in a short space of time as the requirements are very different.
For example, NFL teams tend to bring four times the amount of backroom staff than Premier League teams, as well as additional luggage and kit. Even down to catering, the expectations are completely different with NFL fans known to have up to four visits to concessions during an event day, compared to half that figure for a typical soccer fan. "
The key has been to make American football feel at home in England. Customized Baseball Jerseys The support for the game is unquestionably present: The NFL sold 40,000 season tickets alone for the last batch of four matches in 2017.
"We would welcome the prospect of hosting a franchise should the NFL decide to move a team to London. That decision, however, is totally down to them," Levy said.
Yet for the moment, Kirkwood thinks it is important for any of the visiting teams that cross the Atlantic to feel comfortable with the experience.
"They have to feel they've been given a good competitive chance of playing well," he said. "If teams felt it was not a good experience you'd find it very difficult to get other teams to come over. Players will have their own locker rooms, branded and designed by ourselves, and a field surface that they're familiar with. "