Tue, 16 Oct 2018

LONDON -- Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium will host just one NFL fixture in 2018, with Wembley retaining two of the three matches in the capital, the National Football League has announced.

In the first confirmed event at Spurs' yet-to-be-named new home, the Oakland Raiders will host the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 14.

The absence of a second fixture at the redeveloped White Hart Lane raises doubts about the readiness of the 61,559-capacity stadium and the surrounding area, after the club announced a 10-year deal with the NFL to host at least two matches per year in July 2015.

But NFL's executive vice president Mark Waller said the single game was in line with the first years the NFL played at other sites in London. Wembley hosted the first NFL London game in 2007 and did not host two fixtures in the same year until 2013, while Twickenham hosted one match in 2016 before moving on to two last year.

"We are very excited about playing our first game at Tottenham's magnificent new stadium and will follow our usual pattern of playing one game in our first season at a new venue, as we did at Wembley and Twickenham in previous years," Waller said.

"This enables us to achieve important learnings relating to the fans' preferences, ticketing, team logistics and local transportation and infrastructure in order to create the best possible experience and environment. We will play an additional game at Tottenham in a future season, over and above the planned two per year, to make up for this."

London mayor Sadiq Khan also said in a release that the city will "look forward to going back to staging at least four NFL games in London" in the future.

The number of games is a backward step for the NFL's London expansion plans after the league staged four fixtures in the capital last year, with Waller previously saying there could be a a permanent London NFL franchise in the next "four to five years."

In the other matches at Wembley, the Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Philadelphia Eagles and the Tennessee Titans visit the Los Angeles Chargers. The games will be played on the Oct. 21 and 28, though the NFL is yet to confirm the order.

The club's £800 million arena will feature the world's first dividing retractable football pitch, with an artificial surface underneath that will be used for NFL games and concerts, and a dedicated NFL entrance. There will also be NFL-sized dressing rooms and dedicated NFL medical and media facilities, while the stadium has been designed to ensure the sight lines are as good for NFL as for football.

The NFL have contributed £10m towards the tailoring of the stadium, while Spurs and the league will split gate receipts and food, drink and merchandise sales from NFL matches there.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, the brainchild behind the idea to host NFL games at Tottenham, said in a statement: "This is a milestone year for the club as we look ahead to the opening of our new stadium and all that it will bring to the area of Tottenham.

"The announcement of the first game of the NFL's 2018 London Games to take place at our new home heralds the commencement of our 10-year partnership. This is one of the cornerstones of our vision for creating a world-class sports and leisure destination that will make Tottenham a hive of activity 365 days a year and drive the regeneration of one of the most deprived areas of London.

"The NFL will bring a whole new audience to the local area, showcase Tottenham and bring further economic and social benefits with truly global coverage and attraction."

Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.

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