How Spurs' state-of-the-art stadium becomes London's home of NFL

A retractable pitch, 7,000 tons of steel and facilities that have left players stunned: How Tottenham’s state-of-the-art stadium is turned into London’s home of the NFL after 2023 international schedule was released

  • The League announced the fixtures for its 2023 international slate Wednesday
  • Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was built to cater for both soccer and NFL
  • provides all the latest international sports news

The NFL is locked in to return the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium during the 2023 season and the Premier League ground will be ready to welcome the league back with open arms.

The League announced its 2023 international slate Wednesday, featuring five playoff teams from last season. 

The Jacksonville Jaguars, London regulars, will kickstart the action at Wembley against the Atlanta Falcons on October 1 before Tottenham Hotspur Stadium gets its first glimpse of action with the Jaguars travelling to play the Buffalo Bills on October 8.

The third game in London sees the Tennessee Titans face the Baltimore Ravens at Tottenham on October 15. 

Then, the NFL will then cross over to the continent, where Super Bowl winners the Kansas City Chiefs play the Miami Dolphins on November 5 and the New England Patriots play the Indianapolis Colts on November 12 in Frankfurt, Germany.

The NFL is locked in to return the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium during the 2023 season 

The stadium first hosted the NFL when the Chicago Bears faced the Oakland Raiders in 2019

The Union Jack is held alongside the Star-Spangled Banner at last year’s NFL London game

With the NFL set to hit London for the first three weeks of October, its hosts will be gearing up to replicate the success of previous years, thanks to 7,000 tons of steel and state-of-the-art facilities. 

The NFL first washed up on the shores of the British Isles in 2007 when the International Series first began at a rainy Wembley Stadium.

However, it wasn’t until Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur’s state-of-the-art stadium was built that the global games were revolutionized. 

The $1.2bn (£1bn) stadium, built specifically to cater for both soccer and NFL, hosted its first football game in October 2019 when the Oakland Raiders beat the Chicago Bears in front of 60,463 fans, before the Carolina Panthers triumphed over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a week later.

The games even included the entertainment fanfare usually associated with the Super Bowl and the likes of Rihanna and other artists’ no-expenses-spared performances, as lifelong Spurs fan AJ Tracey took to the stage to perform for the crowds, becoming the first artist to stage a half-time show in the London Games. 

As the 60,000-capacity stadium prepares to host the NFL for the fourth time, after Covid-19 forced the 2020 International Series to be canceled, the grounds staff will be gearing up to transform the stadium into a stage worthy of a global thriller. 

Before the Jaguars can kickstart this year’s London Games a lot of hard and impressive work goes into the Tottenham Stadium’s NFL makeover. 

The work began at its conception. While conceiving the stadium, members of the Populous design team and Tottenham staff headed to America for inspiration.

The logos of all the NFL teams are shown on Wembley Way prior to the 2022 game

The Premier League team’s stadium undergoes an impressive makeover to welcome the NFL

Among the venues visited were US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Gillette Stadium – home of the New England Patriots, Dallas’ AT&T Stadium and the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The latter opened in 2006 and has a fully retractable pitch.

Tottenham had a sizeable issue in the shape of two 49 meter tall steel trees, each weighing 262 tons, which hold up the South Stand.

They turned to Sheffield-based engineering firm SCX, who are also responsible for the retractable roofs on Wimbledon’s Centre Court and Court No 1, to make the world’s first dividing retractable pitch.


  • 2090 meters of rail installed for moving the pitch
  •  25 minutes to retract the pitch from start to finish
  • 35,000 decorative tiles on the stadium exterior
  • 99 steel trays joined together to make up the sliding pitch
  • 7,217 tons of steel in the south stand 
  • South Stand trees each weigh 262 tons and are 49m tall
  • 23,000 square feet – the largest club retail shop in Europe
  • 325 square meter screens – the largest in Western Europe 

Tottenham’s NFL field lies 1.6 meters below the soccer pitch. The three sections of the pitch, weighing more than 3,000 tons, move along nine rails and nestle under the stand.

It requires 99 steel trays joined together to make up the sliding pitch in order to retract it, a process which takes around 25 minutes.

Sections slide out simultaneously, before moving laterally to create the seamless surface.

Once all the sections are connected, the hydraulic slides lift up to bring touchlines to the same level as the pitch.

Yet the grass pitch is not damaged, as it can be stored for up to 10 days in a garage thanks to LED lighting, cooling and irrigation systems.

NFL players have been left impressed in previous years. 

This feels like a football stadium!’, roared Giovani Bernard ahead of the inaugural games in 2019.

Meanwhile, Efe Obada laughed: ‘The locker rooms are better than ours!’

The stadium even offers fans the chance to kit themselves out in NFL merchandise galore. 

The word shop does not sufficiently describe the 23,000 square feet megastore, the largest club retail shop in Europe. 

The International Series requires months-long preparation for the teams too. 

To make the journey across the Atlantic to play at Tottenham Stadium or Wembley teams need to put in far more planning than a game in the United States would have required. 

For example they must need to packs thousands of items, ranging from cereal and extension cords to gauze pads and wrist bands, onto a ship destined for London. 

Not only do they have to pack these items but they must also list the value and country of origin for the contents for every trunk or bag, according to The New York Times. 

Some teams even fly the team chef over to their London hotel to observe how the food is served at team headquarters or find an industrial launderette to wash used uniforms. 

New York Giants players Graham Gano and Jamie Gillan take a photo on the Tottenham field

The NFL’s international schedule for the 2023 season was announced on Wednesday 

There has been a growing movement to expand the NFL game in London since 2007

All the effort and state-of-the-art facilities allow Tottenham Stadium and teams to bring an authentic NFL experience to the British capital.

One that has earned Tottenham Stadium the title as the League’s home away from home. 

After flirtations with Wembley and Twickenham, the home of England rugby, the NFL has arguably established base in Tottenham. 

Wembley will still host a game this season as the Jaguars’ unofficial overseas home but the ten-year deal with Tottenham to play at least two games a year tells you where the NFL sees its London base.

Source: Read Full Article