NFL in London

Wed 24 Oct, 2007 at 12:04 am 1 comment

For those who do not know, this Sunday the Dolphins will play the Giants in London.The game sold out in seconds and 88,000 people will pack out Wembley (the home of proper football!). Mark Waller, the international development officer of the NFL, wants teams in London, Toronto and Mexico City, within 10 years. The New York Times report on Waller’s views is here.

Not to be outdone, the NHL had their season opener in London at the o2 centre and the NBA have just completed a preseason competition in the UK’s capital. The thing is that no one I have talked to in the UK even knew the NHL were on! I have asked several sports nuts in Britain did they see the NHL games. No one cared and no one knew.

Not so with the NFL. The game is all over the press and everyone knows its on. Sky TV are making a big deal of the game. The question is this – will the NFL go to London? I think it would work financially, but what about the logistics? There is no way the NFL would be running this game this Sunday if they didn’t expect to be going there  for the long-term.

Moreover, will a team in Toronto kill the CFL? It seems the Buffalo Bills want to come to Toronto, they will be playing 2 regular season games a year in Toronto from next year. This is with a view to a permanent move. There are real fears that this spells the end of the CFL. Does anyone care about that?

Will going international kill the NFL? How can they expect to expand to London or Mexico City but they can’t get a team playing LA, the biggest US sports market?

The NHL are talking about going to Europe as well, but how will it work? The fact is that American sports look longingly at football and see competitions like the Champions League. They feel they need to expand to get the type of money soccer generates.

The NFL know they can never have anything generating revenue like the World Cup or club competitions. They want to cash in, but what will be the cost?

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Entry filed under: Random thoughts, Uncategorized.

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