NFL commissioner Roger Goodell visited the under-construction new stadium of English Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend to see how work is progressing on the new facility, while it has been revealed that the American football league could return to London’s Twickenham stadium in the future.
Next year, the NFL will host regular-season games at a third London venue when the new Spurs stadium joins the International Series, an annual set of games that take place in the English capital.
Wembley Stadium had been the traditional home of the NFL in London prior to the introduction of rugby union’s Twickenham in 2016, but the Spurs ground, due for completion next summer, will join the mix from the 2018 series, kicking off a 10-year partnership with the NFL.
Speaking during his visit to the site, Goodell said: “The new Tottenham Hotspur stadium is clearly going to be a world-class venue. We are very pleased with how closely we have been able to work with the club, and are optimistic that the broader regeneration plan will make for an extraordinary experience for NFL fans.”
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy added: “We have worked closely with them [the NFL] throughout this project and their involvement will play a significant part in helping us create one of the most compelling venues for sports and entertainment in the world, right here in Tottenham.”
The addition of the new Tottenham stadium to the series had cast doubts over the future inclusion of Twickenham, which this year staged its final two games of a three-year contract with the league.
Twickenham, the home of the English national rugby union team, brought in a combined attendance of 147,973 for the two games this year, the most recent of which took place on Sunday between the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings.
Alistair Kirkwood, managing director for the UK division of the NFL, has said that there is a “reasonable chance” the league could return to the stadium, due to the success of the two games this year and the match last year, which also attracted a crowd of 74,121.
“I think there’s a reasonable chance [we’ll be back],” Kirkwood said, according to Sky Sports. “We’re working on our 2018-and-beyond plans, but I think the last two games at Twickenham, this game and last week, were really good.
“I’ve spoken to quite a few people who are used to coming here for rugby and they were really shocked at how we had taken over the stadium and made it our own.
“We did a late kick-off last week and an early kick-off this week, there was a very different vibe and we’re really pleased with how it went. Absolutely we’ll be in conversations with Twickenham going forward.”
The architects for the Tottenham Hotspur stadium project are due attend the annual TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Summit taking place in Barcelona on 28-29 November, to represent the project.
Image: Captain Roger Fenton