Tottenham plan to host NFL-Premier League same-day doubleheaders

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For fans of both kinds of football, Tottenham Hotspur are working on making something special happen.

The English soccer club has its sights set on hosting same-day doubleheaders of an NFL game and an English Premier League game once Tottenham’s new 61,000-seat stadium opens in 2018 with a retractable pitch for NFL games. Mark Waller, the NFL’s executive vice president of international, told ESPN he believes it’s possible, but there would be some logistical issues to overcome, like using the same venue to host a soccer game and a football game back-to-back.

"It wouldn’t be absolutely out of the question," Waller said. "I don’t think you’d want to do it on a regular basis, but on a unique feature, that might be a really interesting idea."

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said he is pushing hard to make the idea a reality because it would be exciting to have "the two biggest leagues in the world from a television perspective" playing on the same day.

"It is absolutely my ambition to make this work," Levy said. "When I first started talking about it internally at the club, again, I think people around me thought I was mad as well. I guess it’s my tenacity to get it done because there were many times with the NFL where there wasn’t going to be an arrangement. We just kept going back and saying, ‘What about this? What about that?’"

The NFL has made concerted efforts over the years to expand the audience of American football by hosting games at Tottenham’s part-time home, Wembley Stadium in London, as well as in Mexico.

Tottenham are taking their partnership with the NFL seriously as they prepare for their new stadium, which will host a minimum of two NFL games per year over the next decade. Levy has said the NFL is involved in "every aspect" of Tottenham’s new stadium that is currently under construction. The new stadium will feature a retractable pitch for NFL games and concerts, as well as dedicated NFL facilities.

"When we first went to them, we went to them with the idea of a joint stadium in some shape or form without going through all the details at that stage," Levy said. "As we sat down and we went through all the operations, we worked out, ‘What does the NFL need? What does soccer need?’ Basically we had a checklist of all the various things we wanted to achieve, and then at the end of the day it was the best solution."

The NFL might be a long way from having a permanent team in London, but the idea has been batted around and working hand-in-hand with one of Premier League’s biggest teams could help the cause in the future.

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