Tottenham made their long-awaited move into a new 62,000-seater home back on 24 March – a whole 679 days after the final game at their old and beloved White Hart Lane. They played their first match at the imaginatively-named Tottenham Hotspur Stadium back on 3 April, and while the club’s home record since that victorious baptism over Crystal Palace is chequered, the stadium has already been a witness to one of the club’s greatest European nights.
However, this ground is more than just a new Tottenham mecca, or – as some fools would assert – a navy-and-white version of the Emirates Stadium. On early evidence, it has the same great atmosphere at White Hart Lane, with elements of working-class honesty co-existing alongside corporate clout, ensuring that the club retains its standing as a pillar of football culture in a wholesome way.
Patience Key to Perfect Stadium
The story of the stadium’s development, and its moment of conception in a London boardroom, provides as much inspiration as the finished article itself. It was a little over ten years ago, on the eve of Tottenham’s first top-four season in the Premier League, that the first knockings of a new stadium came to light.
Its projected capacity was to be 58,000, and construction began in the summer of 2015, making it a journey of three and-a-half years, from the first breaking of ground to the grand opening and most of the avant-garde features mooted at that time made it into the finished product. The first of these, naturally, is the projected asymmetrical bowl, designed to give the feeling of a ‘home end’, distinguishing it from the likes of the Emirates Stadium or Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium.
The vast, single-tiered ‘Park Lane End’, crowned by the iconic fighting cockerel, does just that. However, it is vociferous fans that make all the difference, and spur Tottenham on to the victories that shorten their football spread betting odds to win a trophy. Their passionate nature is redoubled by ‘state of the art’ beer dispensers, in what is Europe’s longest cash-free bar, and in addition, the stadium design also boasts acoustic qualities that few stadia across the continent can match.
Of course, it hardly needs mentioning that the hospitality suites go above and beyond, with views across London accompanying Michelin star-quality dining, which stand amongst the numerous features available to those more fortunate than ourselves.
‘London Lilywhites’ – The Next Big NFL franchise?
While the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is an effort well worth waiting for, it is not acoustics or Hogwarts-style beer dispensers that could really make the club a global force. The stadium is also set to become the home of NFL action on this side of the Atlantic, further boosting its corporate potential, and wresting away Wembley’s current monopoly on UK tours conducted by the NFL.
The idea of NFL and Premier League agendas coexisting under one roof is not unprecedented. Shahid Khan’s ownership of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham FC, alongside prior reports of his now-abandoned interest in purchasing Wembley Stadium, has indirectly led to some minor speculation over a London-based NFL franchise being formed in the near future.
While the sight of ‘London Lilywhites’ thrashing the Jaguars et al in their own backyard seems a ridiculous one, the growing popularity (and marketability) of the NFL in the UK makes the stadium’s NFL facilitation far more than just a gimmick. After all, 2017 saw Rugby League outfit Toronto Wolfpack make the bold and unprecedented decision to go transatlantic, and ply its trade in League 1. Given the club’s resources, travel was only a very minor issue, with the Wolfpack gaining instant promotion via a 100% perfect season.
Transatlantic USP to Give Spurs Local Edge
While the world of Premier League football is obviously a different one, money talks in any sport – without exception. On the subject of money, season tickets currently cost between £795 and £2,200 for adults, but prices could be offset by the purchase of NFL travel packages to the new stadium for American audiences.
In turn, the reduction of season ticket prices would mark Tottenham as pioneers for quality football at much more affordable prices. Regardless of how the powers of THFC choose to do it, the club must take this gilt-edged opportunity to introduce an entire generation of Americans to the Tottenham way of life. In doing so, the club would establish dominion within a market as-yet untapped by any individual football club.
If all of these actions were implemented effectively, it would come as no surprise to see Tottenham overtake their main London rivals in every aspect across the Atlantic. In the face of constant belittlement from deluded Chelsea and Arsenal fans in our fair capital, that can only be a plus…