The NFL could be coming to England permanently after reports confirmed that Tottenham are considering including a retractable pitch in their new stadium design to support a London franchise. The innovative design would include a sliding football pitch, which would roll out and sit in position above an American Football style synthetic surface. The idea of a slide-out pitch is not a new one, and is already in place at the University of Phoenix.
The move will help to recoup some of the cost of the £400 million stadium, which is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2018-19 football season. The new build will have a capacity of 56,000 – an increase of more than 20,000 over Spurs’ current ground – and they’ll be hoping that the extra finance will increase their odds of qualifying for the Champions League.
This comes in the wake of their London rivals, West Ham United, being granted approval to move into the 60,000 capacity Olympic Stadium for the start of the 20016/17 campaign.
The announcement comes after months of legal battles between the club and Archway Sheet Metal Works, a company which operates from the White Hart Lane site and who had originally blocked the commencement of building work.
Archway had initially refused to relocate, but a settlement has now been reached.
American Football in England
American Football is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK, and NFL bosses have long been seeking a UK home to take advantage.
A number of games have been hosted at Wembley Stadium in the past – and in 2014 a sold-out triple-header played out in front of a total crowd of more than 200,000 people.
Another three games are scheduled for the autumn of 2015, which will be used as a test to see how the time difference impacts upon US television viewing figures and the logistics of the players having to travel across continents between games.
There are technical issues which prevent Wembley from being a natural home for the NFL, however. Each American Football game is accompanied by a mass of bodies on the touch-line – from coaching staff, substitute players, medical teams and media workers. This can severely affect the view of those sat in the front rows of the stadium.
At Wembley, the lowest 5,000 seats are left empty to avoid restricted viewing. In the architectural plans for the new White Hart Lane development, the artificial surface will be at a lower level than the football pitch – and this will combat the problem, if not completely eradicate it.
What are your views on American Football?
Until Next Time… Charlotte x