Written by Matthew Cannata
Over the past several years, the NFL has brought regular season games to London in hopes of creating and energizing a fan base and also to see if the NFL can succeed internationally. In five years or so, the reality of an NFL franchise in London could happen.
On the NFL Network, Commissioner Roger Goodell said that there is no reason why a franchise couldn’t exist in London due to the success that they’ve had so far. In terms of whether it would be an expansion team or an existing team, he did not go into detail.
“We couldn’t be happier with what we’re seeing,” Goodell said. “We actually couldn’t be more surprised by the tremendous demand for NFL football in London, in the UK in general, and frankly in Europe. So it’s not something that I think is 15 or 20 years away. It could be five or 10 years away.”
“The fans want to see more NFL football, and they want to see the real thing,” Goodell said. “They don’t want to see the ‘friendlies’ as they call them over there, which is preseason games. So we changed our strategy eight years ago and said, ‘Let’s play regular season games.’ And our clubs have responded very favorably. They’ve enjoyed the experience. So we’re anxious to do more of it. I see us continuing to play more games there, to focus on our television coverage there and expanding that, our other business efforts including licensing and sponsorship.”
It looks like it is now a matter of when and not if when an NFL franchise comes to London. It will be extremely interesting to see how it all plays out and how the league structures the franchise.