The NFL has sought to appease UK fans who reacted angrily to changes to season-ticket rules ahead of the league’s first games at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium.
The as-yet unnamed venue in North London will host a game between Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders in October, with two matches to be staged at Wembley, which has been home to the NFL for a decade.
As Tottenham’s seating plan has yet to be finalised, season-ticket holders will only be able to renew for Wembley. With Tottenham’s capacity at just 60,500 – significantly lower than Wembley’s 84,500 – fans are concerned they could miss out as there could be more season-ticket holders than available seats at the smaller stadium.
Tickets for the Tottenham match will go on sale once the seating plan is finalised, which is likely to be around the NFL Draft in April 2018.
After an angry reaction from some American football fans, NFL UK attempted to explain its decision.
Sadly, the demise of the UK NFL fan base starts now, with this ridiculous ticketing news. The purpose of a season ticket was to have a ticket guaranteed for all matches in future years, now the parameters are being changed. Massive two fingers in the face to all the existing FANS
— Edward O'Donnell (@EdODonnell1) January 18, 2018
It said in a statement: “Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium is currently under construction, with seats not yet ready for installation.
“It would be unwise of us to sell tickets to that game until such time as all the seating details are confirmed as this could lead to unnecessary future disruption. This can only be done once seats have been installed and a definite manifest is known.
“We understand the initial frustration of season ticket account holders who would like to have the opportunity to buy more than four season tickets at Tottenham. However, our ticketing policy has to be able to accommodate the differences in each venue – e.g. to safeguard against a scenario where the total number of Wembley season ticket sales exceeds the capacity of Tottenham’s stadium.”
Season ticket renewals for Wembley games will go on sale on January 30, and be offered to new customers from February 15.
All 2017 season ticket holders who renew their seats will be given access to a priority pre-sale window for a limited number of tickets to Seahawks v Raiders at Tottenham. Season-ticket holders will be restricted to buying four seats.
“As we enter a season of transition, change and development we appreciate your understanding and support,” NFL UK added.
“We remain committed to putting the experience and satisfaction of our fans first, and to prioritizing the needs of our season-ticket holders. We aim to continue to demonstrate this over the coming months.”
IMAGE: Tottenham Hotspur