Wembley, England's new national football stadium, is the largest "soccer" stadium in the world with all the seats undercover and the largest in the world with a sliding roof. It has a capacity of 90,000 and its first game - England Under 21s VS Italy Under 21s - is nex Saturday.
Today it is open to the public for the first time. 60,000 fans will test its safety and facilities. Costing almost £1 BILLION, it is the most expensive sporting arena on the planet ever.
Gridiron at Wembley
Friday, 02 February 2007.
Wembley Stadium is set to host the first NFL regular-season game to be played outside of North America, with the Miami Dolphins taking on New York Giants.
In the build up to the Superbowl this Sunday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the game that will be played on Sunday 28 October, kicking off at 6pm.
NFL owners voted in October to play up to two games outside of the United States every year for the next five years, with the series kicking off with a single game in 2007.
London was named last month as the site of that game, with the new Wembley – due to open later this year – now confirmed as the venue.
"The international popularity of the NFL grows every year," said Goodell in announcing the teams and stadium for the game.
"That interest will be seen as the far corners of the world watch Super Bowl this Sunday. That is a fascination we will build upon. London and its international stature adds to the impact of the game."
The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said the city is excited to be hosting the game: "We are very pleased about having teams of the caliber of the Dolphins and Giants coming to London," said Livingstone.
"We are looking forward to giving them a memorable experience. We are expecting nearly 10,000 American fans to travel to London to watch the game as well as people from Europe. There will be many millions of TV viewers in the United States alone, so it will be a great opportunity to showcase London to new visitors and for people to see the way we uniquely enjoy our sport.
"After London’s success in winning the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, our aim has been to bring to Londoners the best of all sports. The Tour de France, which will start in London later this year, and now the NFL is a great step towards this."
The Dolphins and Giants are two of the most recognizable teams in the NFL, with four Super Bowl wins between them. In 1972, Miami became the only team in history to post an undefeated season on its way to winning Super Bowl VII with an overall 17-0 record.
The Dolphins successfully defended their title the next year. The Giants have been NFL champions on six occasions, including victories in Super Bowls XXI and XV following the 1986 and 1990 seasons.
"The Dolphins are proud to be a part of such a historic occasion," said Miami owner H. Wayne Huizenga. "We were one of the first NFL teams to play in the United Kingdom with our American Bowl appearance in London in 1988. Dolphins games always have been among the most popular NFL telecasts in England.
We have a great following there, including fan clubs throughout the country. We look forward to playing in front of our overseas fans, as well as our U.S. supporters who will make the trip overseas."
The Giants owners were similarly enthused about the historic game.
"We are looking forward to bringing our team to London, which has long been a center of attention and enthusiasm for the NFL overseas dating back to the league’s first game there in 1983," said John Mara, president and chief executive officer of the Giants. "Playing in London in late October means our fans there will see a midseason contest. It will signal the beginning of the second half of the season when teams begin their playoff run."
The old Wembley, closed in 2000, hosted its first NFL preseason game in 1983 and eight NFL American Bowl games from 1986-93.
"It is an honour to have been chosen as the host venue for the first regular-season NFL game outside of North America," said Wembley Stadium Managing Director Alex Horne. "Wembley Stadium is known around the world for having staged some of the biggest and most important events in sport and entertainment history and it is great to see American football return here. We hope that this fantastic event will help to bring the drama of the sport to a much wider audience and showcase London and the magic of Wembley Stadium to the US and the rest of the world."
The NFL achieved a record average attendance of 67,738 during the 2006 regular season, with more than 97 per cent of games sold out.
Super Bowl XLI takes place in Dolphin Stadium, Miami, on Sunday, with the Chicago Bears taking on the Indianapolis Colts. The 2007 NFL regular season will kick off early in September.
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