The new Tottenham Hotspur stadium has added rugby league to its growing portfolio of events, with the club announcing that the venue will host the final game of next year’s Ashes series between England and Australia.
As well as holding football matches as the home venue of the Premier League side, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has recently hosted NFL – staging the Oakland Raiders against the Chicago Bears and the Carolina Panthers against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month – and has a five-year deal in place to host Premiership Rugby’s London derby between Saracens and Harlequins. The first game of that agreement is set to take place in March next year.
Opening the venue to additional sports and events is a major part of Spurs’ strategy to generate extra revenue from their new stadium, which was officially opened in April of this year, eight months after its intended opening, at a total cost of £1bn (€1.16bn/$1.29bn).
The stadium incorporates a retractable artificial turf which is used during NFL games and is likely to be utilised during rugby league and rugby union fixtures at the ground as well.
Daniel Levy, Tottenham Hotspur chairman, said: “We are excited to add another prestigious sport to our portfolio of world-class sporting and entertainment events that our multi-use venue will stage and we look forward to welcoming Rugby League fans to our home next year.”
Australia’s tour of England is set to be the first rugby league Ashes series in 17 years. As well as the Tottenham stadium, the two will also clash in the more traditional rugby league surroundings of the University of Bolton Stadium and Leeds’ Elland Road.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming Australia back to this country for the first time since 2016. International Rugby League is the pinnacle of our game and some of the best rugby players on the planet will be involved,” said Ralph Rimmer, chief executive of the Rugby Football League.
“We hope the venues we have chosen, with a split between Lancashire, Yorkshire and London, will be popular both with regular rugby league supporters and also the broader sporting public. The University of Bolton Stadium and Elland Road have both staged successful Rugby League events in recent years, and it’s exciting for us to be taking a first fixture to the stunning Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.”
Australia are the reigning rugby league world champions, having beaten England in the World Cup final on home soil in 2017.