Tonight, Tottenham and Manchester City face each other in a massive, all-English quarter-final of the Champions League; and it’s being played in Tottenham’s new £1bn super-stadium. HEKKTA want to find out what makes this stadium so special, and why it will set a benchmark for all future arenas of sport around the world.
Last week Tottenham Hotspur moved into their flashy new, all-singing, all-dancing stadium, built on the site of their former ground, White Hart Lane.
Classic English clubs moving out of their beloved stomping grounds, in favour for larger, more profitable stadiums has certainly been a trait of the modern Premier League.
Typically, teams have struggled, or fans have been unhappy with the new stadium, lacking the history, heart and soul of their former, and a result, lacking the performances.
This time it feels different. Everyone couldn’t wait to play in their new stadium, partly because it has taken so long. But when Tottenham beat Crystal Palace 2-0, the atmosphere that was created was no accident.
It was by design.
The stadium was designed by arena specialists Populous, the same firm designing MSG London, and they were also behind the design of the Emirates and Wembley.
So they certainly know what they are doing when it comes to stadiums.
Populous say, “It is a benchmark of how stadiums should be designed”
“This is a game changer. There is no doubt in my mind that the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is the best stadium in the world.”
Populous were very keen to ensure this was a stadium for the fans; and also a stadium for every fan, not just the fortunate few.
Keen to maximise atmosphere, the stadium was designed cleverly to ensure what they call a ‘wall of sound’ within the stadium. The South Stand, pictured below, can seat 17,500 fans alone, which makes it the largest single-tier stand in the UK.
The shape of this in relation to the rest of the stadium creates a cavern-like effect on the sound reverberating around the stadium, amplifying and containing the roars.
“We wanted to create a seating bowl that had identity, that had character, that wasn’t just a symmetrical ubiquitous stadium that you didn’t know where you are, didn’t know which stand you were in”, said Christopher Lee, managing director of Populous.
Able to seat 62,062 people at it’s maximum capacity, it becomes the second largest stadium in the Premier League, behind only Old Trafford.
They have also ensured that the front row is as close as possible to the pitch, to maximise views and sound within the stadium. Spurs’ new stadium seats fans 7.9 metres from the touchline, whereas fans are 13.8 metres away at the Emirates and 18 metres away at Wembley!
However, the design of this stadium goes far beyond just the architecture. Populous and Spurs wanted to create a different kind of experience than the one sport fans in the UK have become used to.
They are trying to change the ritual of being rushed in, only able to buy poor beer at expensive prices, and quickly rushed out again at full time.
“We have always treated general admissions fans really badly,” said Lee.
“Cheapest tickets are still expensive and they are treated really badly – come in here, do this, drink some overpriced bad beer and then leave. Here the idea is that it is much more democratic – everyone has a great experience.”
So to enhance the fan experience, they have created a massive food and drinks hall called The Market, which features the longest bar in Europe at 65 metres.
The days of drinking insipid beer at extortionate prices are also over for the Tottenham fans, as the craft beer company Beavertown have their own micro-brewery in the ground. So great, cheap (for London) beer!
They even have fancy beer taps that fill from the bottom – perfect head every time! However, don’t forget you’re card because it’s completely contactless; no cash allowed.
There is even a glass walkway, which hangs over the South Stand, that you can perch on over the pitch!
Populous also pointed out the massive waste of potential that many stadiums don’t exploit. To have such a grand stadium, which costs so much, to only be open once a week is a waste.
So the idea behind the micro-brewery within the stadium is so the stadium becomes more of a community hub, with something going on all the time.
“It seems insane to have built stadiums of this size that would only be used for one team every other week,” said Lee.
“Here it was very much about creating genuinely a kind of civic building. To have the community come in and use the cafe or brewery or in the south stand, I think that’s great.”
Cafes and bars will remain open to anyone throughout the week, and events and meetings can also be held throughout the week in hospitality lounges and restaurants, such as the one below.
Another massive factor in the adaptability of this stadium is it’s multi-functional use of the pitch.
They are able to remove and roll up the turf pitch in three separate parts, with the turf remaining intact, and place it under the South Stand to store it. Once stored, it reveals an NFL-approved synthetic surface underneath.
As NFL grows in stature in the UK, more and more teams are looking for suitable stadiums to host regular games. The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will be such venue, specifically designed in mind for the sport, aswell as football.
Speaking in Washington, DC, UK Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch said, “The NFL in London is going from strength to strength and I am delighted that we will have four games in the capital next year, with Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium joining Wembley as a host venue.”
With captain and main striker Harry Kane already expressing his keenness to play in the NFL, it seems like a match made in heaven! Should probably focus on the football though for now, Harry. Being captain for your country and all that!
Watch the video below to see the retracting pitch in action.
As well as being able to host American Football games, it means the space can easily and quickly be converted into a venue for concerts and events.
“We are designing an economic resilience into the building by cleverly creating spaces that have multiple uses,” continued Lee.
So there will no doubt be a few big acts and musicians performing here too.
The second phase of the project now begins, with a large hotel, an extreme sports centre and a few hundred affordable housing blocks going up, to ensure the stadium is adding and helping the area aswell as the club.
Fans are certainly hopeful that a stadium of this pedigree will give their team the extra boost needed for get them the trophy they so dearly want.