Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to host two NFL games this year as International Series returns

·2-min read
 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host two regular NFL games in October this year as the league’s International Series returns to the UK after a Covid-enforced absence in 2020.

The New York Jets take on Atlanta Falcons on October 10, before UK regulars Jacksonville Jaguars meet Miami Dolphins a week later.

The games will see the top two picks in the recent NFL Draft, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, face the challenge of playing overseas just weeks into their professional careers.

Last year was the first in which no NFL games were staged in the UK since the first regular season game was held at Wembley back in 2007, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing all four scheduled fixtures to be moved back to the US.

Organisers are currently planning for full capacity crowds at this year’s game, while in a worst-case scenario they retain the flexibility to move the matches back to their “home” stadiums in the US.

This year’s run of two matches is down on the four which were played in the UK in 2019, when Wembley and the Tottenham Hostpur Stadium - which is the first purpose-built NFL stadium outside of North America - hosted two games each.

The Jaguars have played more London games than any other franchise, having visited the capital seven times, but this year’s match will be their first away from Wembley. Jacksonville’s deal to play games at the national stadium expired at the end of last year, but dicussions are ongoing over a new agreement, which could see Wembley host games again next year.

“The NFL has become a regular fixture in the UK’s brilliant sporting calendar and I’m delighted to welcome the League back to London for another season,” UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said. “This is a major vote of confidence in our country’s progress to bring coronavirus under control and our ability to stage major sporting events safely.

“Our Events Research Programme is playing an important role in testing the safe return of fans and will inform our decision making on getting people back watching live sport again safely in greater numbers.”

Earlier this year, NFL owners approved a plan to expand the regular season to 17 games from 16 and ensure that from 2022 all 32 teams would play internationally at least once every eight years. At present, the Green Bay Packers are the only franchise never to have played in the UK.

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