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Tottenham Hotspur Dividing Retractable Pitch

When Tottenham Hotspur began designing their new stadium in London, they had one objective in mind - to create the world's very best sporting venue.

To help Tottenham Hotspur to achieve their vision, SCX Special Projects designed, engineered and installed the world's first dividing retractable football pitch.

The challenge

When Tottenham Hotspur FC embarked on its mission to replace the White Hart Lane Stadium, it aimed to create a “sport and leisure destination for London with a multi-use stadium capable of staging major sporting and non-sporting events.”

Making the stadium truly multi-use would require a feat of innovative engineering never seen before: a full-size Premier League pitch that would retract to reveal a synthetic NFL American football field beneath it

The solution

Image: Our world-first dividing retractable football pitch splits to reveal an NFL field beneath

 

SCX Special Projects engineered a world-first solution that splits the real grass Premier League pitch into three sections before rolling it away into a storage area beneath the South Stand. The 10,000-tonne pitch takes just 25 minutes to retract.

In addition, the entire touchline, pitch surround and player tunnel ramps rise and fall through a height of 1.65m to meet the different levels of the grass and synthetic playing surfaces.

World-first dividing retractable football pitch

  • 3 pitch-long trays weighing over 3,000 tonnes each, and more than 10,000 tonnes in total
  • 204 electric motors, 32 hydraulic jacks and 1,388 custom steel wheels
  • The east and west trays each translate sideways by 1.2 metres to clear the supporting columns under the South Stand

From concept to reality

  • SCX Special Projects called on its multi-disciplinary engineering expertise to take the world’s first dividing retractable pitch from concept to reality
  • Prototyping and testing proved the solution on a small scale, before ramping up to full production
  • Insight from our work in the demanding aerospace and nuclear sectors permeates our engineering solutions

Reliability, simplicity and safety

  • Design working life of 25 years, supported by calculations, documentation and comprehensive acceptance testing
  • PLC-based, variable speed drive control systems ensure accuracy at the same time as ease of operation
  • Safety ensured through mechanical and electrical design, alongside carefully planned operating procedures

 

Extensive testing and prototyping

  • A full-scale prototype of a retractable pitch tray was built at the Spurs training ground in Enfield
  • Thorough testing included replicating the exact turf structure
  • used in the stadium
  • Spurs players used the retractable turf tray in training and proved it was indistinguishable from a traditional grass pitch

Innovative interfaces with stadium infrastructure

  • Beneath the pitch, the trays connect to a network of irrigation, drainage, and heating systems
  • SCX Special Projects designed and installed a section of retractable seating, to provide large vehicles with access to the pitch
  • We engineered the integrated grow lights solution in conjunction with SGL (a separate study is available)
The pitch surround is a real technical achievement

  • The pitch may be bigger and heavier, but the surround was a more technical challenge
  • The entire pitch surround and flap structures must move in precise unison
  • The solution called on our best mechanical, electrical, controls and safety engineering expertise

 

Fit-for-purpose engineering decisions

  • Hydraulic jacks were chosen for lateral translation and electric motors for longitudinal motion
  • Hydraulic power was chosen for flap opening and pitch surround ascent and descent
  • The full solution demonstrates our ability to pinpoint and deliver on key engineering objectives

Outstanding logistics and project management

  • The pitch and surround were assembled and tested at our Sheffield and Doncaster facilities
  • Over 200 evening deliveries were made into London using escorted HGVs and requiring temporary road closures
  • SCX Special Projects delivered the ground-breaking project within budget and ahead of schedule

 

A legacy of benefits for Tottenham Hotspur

  • The vision of a multi-use stadium has been realised and will continue to deliver benefits for decades to come
  • Investment into the pitch project represents a single-digit percentage of the total stadium build cost to help maximise ROI

 

Let's talk more about the Tottenham Hotspur retractable pitch

We always find that the best outcomes are achieved by talking with us sooner. That way, we can explore all the possible solutions before committing to a course of action.

Call us on +44 114 243 1142, email us at [email protected], or complete the contact form below and we'll be in touch.
 

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SCX Special Projects Ltd
Roman Ridge Road,
Sheffield, S9 1GA
Tel: +44 (0)114 243 1142
Email: [email protected]