Sheffield/-based engineering specialist SCX, who supplied the world-first dividing retractable pitch for the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, will see it make its NFL debut at the weekend.
In the first of two games, Chicago Bears will play the Oakland Raiders on Sunday 6 October. The state-of-the-art multi-purpose venue will then welcome the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday 13 October.
The 62,214-seater arena, which opened for Premier League football in April this year, will offer special tours of the NFL stadium facilities for fans during their two-week tenancy including, on specific dates, visits to the pitch itself.
The retractable grass pitch, designed at SCX’s group headquarters in Wincobank, Sheffield, divides into three sections before sliding under the South Stand to reveal an artificial pitch underneath for NFL fixtures and other major events to be staged, offering flexibility and protecting the grass surface that is used for Tottenham Hotspur fixtures.
This makes the Premier League club’s stadium the first of its kind in the UK to have two pitches inside the same bowl, creating a truly world-class multi-use venue.
SCX designed, engineered, built and installed the pitch, which sits in three steel trays, rolls along on rails, is powered by electric motors, and weighs more than 10,000 tonnes in total.
Once the grass pitch is returned, the joins are invisible and undetectable allowing for a Premier League quality playing surface every matchday.
SCX Special Projects – the bespoke precision engineering arm of the family-run SCX group – has used similar skills to win contracts for the retractable roofs over Centre Court and No.1 Court at the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon, guaranteeing play no matter the weather conditions.
SCX chairman Simon Eastwood said: “We have a solid reputation for solving problems that involve moving and lifting huge structures safely, precisely and reliably. All of the mechanical, electrical and control system engineering skills are in-house and genuinely world class.”
Danny Pickard, SCX’s projects director, said: “Our expertise and heritage enables us to push the boundaries of moving structures, or kinetic architecture as it’s sometimes called. The pitch at Spurs embodies everything we strive for and care about – delivering precisely what the client needs, with the engineering flair that has become a hallmark of SCX.”