NFL Strikes New International Partnership

Originally published March 27, 2015
Updated July 8, 2015

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NFL.com

The NFL and Tottenham Hotspur announced on Wednesday they have reached agreement for a minimum of two games per year to be played during a 10-year partnership at the English Premier League team's new stadium in London.

The state-of-the-art 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. This innovative field will add greater flexibility in the scheduling of games, with the NFL having its own playing surface for games held at this venue. This field will be multi-use and capable of hosting other sporting, entertainment and community events.

Both sports will have dedicated facilities ensuring that the new stadium, designed with a focus on atmosphere, will deliver the optimum experience for both teams and fans. It will be one of the most environmentally sustainable in the UK and also include a clear focus on accessibility via public transportation.

The NFL appears set to yet again broaden their efforts to reach the international community.

While the league already has a presence in Europe, playing three games in London in 2014 as part of the International Series, the next group of countries on the horizon for exposure to American football are Mexico, Canada and China, with the league then hoping to extend their influence to Brazil and Germany.

The NFL also hopes to expand upon their International series, with games in Mexico and Germany by 2017 as the working goal.

The Raiders are no stranger to the international stage, as they've played five games outside of the United States, most recently their Week 4 game in 2014 against the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium in front of a paid crowd of 83,436.

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However, 2014's trip across the pond was not the first in team history, as the Silver and Black took on the New Orleans Saints at Wembley in a preseason match-up in August of 1990. They followed up that trip the next season by heading to Tokyo, Japan, for a preseason contest against the Dolphins in 1991.

The Raiders hadn't quite gotten rid of the travel bug yet, so in July 1994 the Silver and Black packed their bags and flew to Spain, defeating the Denver Broncos 25-22 in Barcelona. They concluded their international travels in 2001, flying south to Mexico City to take on the Dallas Cowboys in a preseason exhibition.

In addition to their international travels as a team, the Raiders boast numerous players with international backgrounds on their roster.

K Sebastian Janikowski was born in Walbzych, Poland, before moving to Daytona Beach, Fla., and LB Sio Moore is a native of Monrovia, Liberia.

DE Benson Mayowa is the son of Nigerian nationals, and T Menelik Watson grew up in Manchester, U.K., before heading stateside to play college football at Saddleback College, Marist College and eventually Florida State.

Since 2007, the NFL has played 11 games in London, and are set to play three more in 2015, including the first divisional game in International Series history, a Week 4 match-up between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.

The NFL has not announced which teams will be headed outside of the United States in 2017, but with their lengthy international history and global appeal, the Silver and Black seem like a prime candidate to be involved in the expanded slate of games.

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