By Barry Janoff
July 8, 2015: As part of its ongoing efforts to build and strengthen its place in the United Kingdom, the NFL has signed a ten-year deal with soccer club Tottenham Hotspur that will see the league play a least two games per season in Tottenham's new stadium.
The games will be part of the NFL's International Series and will be in addition to games to be played in London's Wembley Stadium.
According to the NFL, in addition to the minimum of two games per year at the new Tottenham site, "other NFL games may take place at different venues in the U.K. during the span of the ten-year agreement."
Financial terms of the alliance were not disclosed.
The NFL International Series began in 2007. In 2015, three regular-season NFL games will be played in Wembley Stadium in London.
According to the NFL, the International Series to date has contributed to increased NFL fan interest in the U.K., with a current fan base of 13 million, including more than three million avid fans, a 50% increase in the past three years.
Mark Weller, NFL evp-international, has publicly stated his goal to have an NFL franchise in London by 2022. The league also is said to be considering staging a Super Bowl game in the U.K. in the foreseeable future.
Marketers also have increased their support behind the NFL in the U.K.
The league's U.K. Web site and other activations, including last year's International Series fan fest, is supported by the likes of Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), Jeep, Marriott, Microsoft, Papa John's, Pepsi Mix, Virgin Atlantic and Visa.
This year, one of the three International Series games will be the first NFL game to air exclusively via digital through a deal with Yahoo!
"With growing enthusiasm for the NFL in the United Kingdom, we are committed to hosting NFL games in world-class venues and are excited to partner with Tottenham Hotspur, which plays in the English Premier League, to play games at their future stadium," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "We share a vision and commitment to creating the best experience for our teams, fans and the local community."
Of the 11 NFL games already played in Wembley dating back to 2007, only one drew fewer than 77,000, with a high of 84,254 attending the New England Patriots-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game in 2009.
The three games in Wembley Stadium last season averaged 83,500.
Tottenham Hotspur's stadium, due to open in the summer of 2018, will feature a retractable grass field with an artificial surface underneath that would be used for NFL games. The stadium is part of the Northumberland Development Project that spans more than 20 acres.
The alliance will also been a boon for Tottenham Hotspur in building its global brand. The club has more than 1.1 million followers on Twitter and 6.7 million likes on Facebook.
According to London mayor Boris Johnson, "Anyone who has seen American football at Wembley Stadium cannot fail to have been thrilled by the spectacle, and the wise heads that run the NFL have clearly not missed the fact that Londoners are going absolutely gangbusters for Gridiron.
"We are already working very closely with the NFL, including on plans to get more Londoners involved in the sport, and we believe that building on the success of NFL at Wembley by staging more games in an area of the city that has been earmarked for a massive program of economic regeneration and investment makes perfect sense."