Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium will be a multi-sports arena with a built-in American Football field and including an extreme sports hub.
The Stadium, due to open in August 2018, will also be “future-proofed” to incorporate safe standing for Spurs’ matches should a return to standing be sanctioned by the government.
Darren Baldwin, head of playing surfaces and estates at Tottenham Hotspur FC, told last week’s Saltex conference at the NEC in Birmingham:
We want to create something flexible. We need to make sure we can compete for all sports. Whilst we call it a new stadium, it is probably a new arena. We will become a multi-use arena.
In soccer mode we’re going to have quite a unique stand at one end of the pitch – a one tier kop end. In NFL mode, the NFL field will be six feet lower than the soccer pitch.
For the single tier South Stand, Baldwin said the brief from chairman Daniel Levy was to create the atmosphere of White Hart Lane in the new stadium.
He said that was being achieved by having the seating in close proximity to the pitch. Fans in the front seats will be sat just 5.2 metres from the touchline.
We have built in flexibility for bringing back safe standing. All we have done with this is future proof the stadium. We have designed the stadium to allow safe standing should it come back in. That needs a government change of law to go to safe standing. I can’t see it for a good few years yet, though.
A key for us with multi-sport usage is also to make sure we have enough of the big jumbo screens and that they don’t impact any of the seating or viewing spaces.
Baldwin also highlighted other unique features of the stadium including the introduction of a Tunnel Club.
It will be very exclusive with about 100 seats in there. You will be able to stand right beside the glass wall of the tunnel when the players come out. There will be a floor to ceiling glass wall between you and the players. There is also the ability to turn the glass opaque should there be a player injury, or a kerfuffle in the tunnel, or a red card.
Another unique feature is the main 17,000 seater stand, which will feature exposed sprinklers in the event of fires. This will allow for a variety of food and beverage outlets to be incorporated.
There will also be two Sky Lounges to the west and east. These are being designed with flexibility in mind so that in NFL mode the coaching and analysis teams can be positioned in there with un-interrupted views to the playing surface.
Baldwin said that for the stadium to transform into NFL mode, the football pitch will slide out underneath the South Stand to reveal an NFL field underneath.
The outside track will drop 6ft to the floor and the soccer pitch will split into three for removal.
Testing of a 5 metre section has been going on at the training centre for two years. We have been testing the joints because when the pitch comes back in it has to match up 100% within 1mm so when a player puts his foot on the joint he can’t feel it.
Further tests costing £200,000 will be carried out on a 21 metre by 3 metre section at the training centre.
Baldwin stressed that the new facility is not just a stadium opening for 25 soccer games and three NFL games a year. It is something that has to operate 365 days of the year.