The National Football League today announced the schedule of London Games for 2018, featuring a series of firsts, including a debut at a new stadium and three teams playing a regular-season game in London for the first time.
English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium is the site of the first game of the 2018 London schedule in Week 6 on Sunday, October 14, as the Oakland Raiders host theSeattle Seahawks. The Raiders, the home team in London for a second time, welcome the Seahawks to Tottenham for their first game in London. Tottenham's new stadium becomes the third venue to stage a regular-season game in the UK, joining Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stadium.
Over the following two weeks, October 21 and 28, two additional teams will make their London debuts as visiting teams. The Philadelphia Eagles will face the Jacksonville Jaguars in a matchup of 2017 playoff teams, while the Tennessee Titans will face the Los Angeles Chargers. The order of the games, along with all kickoff times, is to be confirmed.English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium is the site of the first game of the 2018 London schedule in Week 6 on Sunday, October 14, as the Oakland Raiders host the Seattle Seahawks. The Raiders, the home team in London for a second time, welcome the Seahawks to Tottenham for their first game in London. Tottenham's new stadium becomes the third venue to stage a regular-season game in the UK, joining Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stadium.
"We continue to be very excited by the growth of the NFL in the UK," said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. "The fans have demonstrated outstanding support and passion for the NFL over the past 11 seasons and we look forward to some great games in London this year. A key feature of our success is playing in iconic, world-renowned venues like Wembley and Twickenham, and we look forward to playing in what will be another incredible setting for NFL football at Tottenham's new stadium."
Mayor of London SADIQ KHAN said: "London is the international home of the NFL and I am really excited to welcome the world's best American football stars and their thousands of fans from around the globe back to our city.
"I'm delighted Tottenham Hotspur's fantastic new stadium is joining the line-up of world-class sports arenas in our great city. Spurs' new ground will stage one game in its first year of opening and in 2019 we look forward to going back to staging at least four NFL games in London. Once again, London has shown why it is the sporting capital of the world and open to the very best sports events."
By the end of the 2018 season, the NFL will have played 24 regular-season games in London, with 29 of 32 teams having participated.
MARK WALLER, NFL Executive Vice-President of Events and International, said: "This is another important year as we develop our plans for London and the UK. By playing games on three consecutive weeks we will learn a lot, both from the fans buying tickets and attending games, and from a logistics and organisational standpoint.
"We are very excited about playing our first game at Tottenham's magnificent new stadium and will follow our usual pattern of playing one game in our first season at a new venue, as we did at Wembley and Twickenham in previous years. This enables us to achieve important learnings relating to the fans' preferences, ticketing, team logistics and local transportation and infrastructure in order to create the best possible experience and environment. We will play an additional game at Tottenham in a future season, over and above the planned two per year, to make up for this."
The NFL and Tottenham Hotspur announced in 2015 that they had reached agreement for a minimum of two games per year to be played during a 10-year partnership. The state-of-the-art stadium, due to open this summer, will feature a retractable grass field with an artificial surface underneath that will be used for NFL games. It will also have customised features such as purpose-built locker rooms, medical and media facilities and a dedicated entrance.
"This is a milestone year for the club as we look ahead to the opening of our new stadium and all that it will bring to the area of Tottenham," said Tottenham Hotspur chairman DANIEL LEVY.
"The announcement of the first game of the NFL's 2018 London Games to take place at our new home heralds the commencement of our 10-year partnership. This is one of the cornerstones of our vision for creating a world-class sports and leisure destination that will make Tottenham a hive of activity 365 days a year and drive the regeneration of one of the most deprived areas of London. The NFL will bring a whole new audience to the local area, showcase Tottenham and bring further economic and social benefits with truly global coverage and attraction."
The NFL kicked off its series of regular-season games in London in 2007, when the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on their way to winning the Super Bowl. The home of English football has now hosted 18 NFL games, with almost 1.5 million fans attending those games.
"The NFL holds huge value and importance to Wembley Stadium. We are proud to have hosted games under the arch for the past decade and to have played a key role in the growth of the sport," said MARTIN GLENN, Chief Executive of the Football Association.
"NFL games bring people to the stadium from all over the world, provide a boost to the local economy, and are among the highlights of the Wembley events calendar. Working closely together, we have been able to share knowledge and expertise with the NFL, and continue to learn a great deal from their events and the activation of their games. We are very excited to be welcoming some outstanding playoff teams to the stadium in 2018 and hope our strong partnership will continue for years to come."
Three of the six teams playing in London in 2018 have made the playoffs this season (Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Tennessee), while two more finished the season with winning records (Seattle, LA Chargers). The three playoff teams all retain hopes of reaching Super Bowl LII in Minnesota as the Divisional round is staged this weekend (January 13-14). Jacksonville and Tennessee beat the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs respectively in the Wild Card round last weekend, while Philadelphia earned a first-round bye as the team with the best record in the NFC.
All four winning teams in the NFL's London Games 2017 series went on to win their divisions: Jacksonville (AFC South); New Orleans Saints (NFC South); Los Angeles Rams (NFC West); Minnesota Vikings (NFC North).
Ticketing details will be announced by NFL UK on January 18. Anyone interested in registering their interest in attending any of the games can do so at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/nfl to ensure they receive all the latest information.