Tottenham are reportedly the front-runners in the NFL’s quest of establishing a stadium of play for a potential future American football franchise, according to the Telegraph.
Spurs are set to open a brand new, £400m stadium in 2018 and the NFL is targeting this new facility as a home venue for a new London-based NFL franchise, possibly coming in 2018.
The biggest obstacle to overcome is the turf. The NFL have not been satisfied by the turf conditions at Wembley Stadium in recent years. They don’t believe the football turf is sturdy enough to play host to an NFL team for at least eight home games per year. American football is a game that is extremely physical by nature and the game demands a playing surface that can handle the brute damage that occurs in a 60 minute game.
The dissatisfaction is two-fold as England intenational manager, Roy Hodgson, complained of the damage to the grassy conditions at Wembley just days after two NFL games were played on it. England was set to play a Euro 2016 qualifier at Wembley.
The Telegraph reports that Spurs owners are looking into employing a retractable articifial turf that would be seamlessly substituted for Spurs football turf. The artificial surface would be substituted for NFL games, thus allowing the football grass to be unharmed.
While Tottenham officials have denied having any interaction with the NFL, the Telegraph report that these talks have, indeed, been occuring.
Outside of the turf issue, minor challenges such as locker room size, medical facilities for injured players, and housing space for the vast amount of equipment needed for an NFL franchise, must be addressed for Tottenham’s new stadium to be considered a viable venue.
Spurs have clear intentions for engaging in dialogue with the NFL. The NFL is a massive, multi-billion dollar industry. Wherever the NFL goes, money follows. The Telegraph reports that Spurs can expect to make between £500,000 to £1 million per game if the NFL chooses them.
The excitement surrounding a potential London-based NFL team is hard to ignore. If a few of these challenges are addressed, it will be only a matter of time before a franchise ultimately makes the overseas plunge.