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New TV deal helps NFL's UK growth

The NFL has long wanted to expand its fan base in the United Kingdom, from the American Bowl preseason games that started in 1986 to the more recent slate of regular-season games at Wembley Stadium.

As part of that effort, the NFL has reached a new TV deal with ESPN that will include airing Monday Night Football on ESPN’s UK channel.

“Monday Night Football is an enormous global sports franchise with an incredibly strong heritage,” said Jeroen Oerlemans, vice president for ESPN’s TV channels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “With the NFL’s continued growth in the UK, this is another example of how we are building quality global programming around our core UK sports schedule.”

Sports Business Journal reports the NFL is also close to an agreement that would give ESPN more broadband, mobile and international rights.

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18 Responses to “New TV deal helps NFL's UK growth”
  1. Florio-is-a-tool says: Mar 29, 2010 12:12 PM

    that and the rule book that’s longer than the Encyclopedia Britannica makes the games incredibly easy to follow for someone who’s never seen a game.

  2. Osterhouse says: Mar 29, 2010 12:17 PM

    When are they going to learn these international countries that are high in national pride and enjoy the nation vs nation style soccer games will never like a sport that is strictly American (come on the CFL doesnt count).
    To like football is like selling out to America even further.
    This is like fitting a square peg in a round hole.

  3. spliffbunker says: Mar 29, 2010 12:22 PM

    kickoff would be at 1:30 am wouldnt it?
    more like Tuesday Morning Football…is the target audience the UK’s speed freaks?

  4. mjohnson062 says: Mar 29, 2010 12:26 PM

    So games will air at 1:30am Tuesday morning in local, English time. ?????

  5. GoBrowns19 says: Mar 29, 2010 12:30 PM

    The only good part about moving a team or teams to England is watching them disintegrate. Dwindling fan base when no free agents want to come there and draft picks sit out rather than sign with them. Americans want to live in America. Or at least Canada is nice. But who wants to live, what, 16 hour plane ride from their family, friends, country….it just can’t work.

  6. TBTrojan says: Mar 29, 2010 12:34 PM

    What a great way to expand the fanbase in the UK.
    Take MNF off TV altogether (along with SNF) for the 2009 season and then when it’s put back on air the following year it moves from a freeview channel to a subscription only channel.
    Thats like taking away the International series games for a year and then relocating the Lions to London.

  7. the real deal says: Mar 29, 2010 12:35 PM

    This means nothing, I in the UK for over 6 years, you could always watch 2 sunday games and the monday nighter, you just had to watch them on channel 5 and sky sports.
    This will not increase anything

  8. ShadyMDUK says: Mar 29, 2010 12:49 PM

    ESPN having the rights for the Monday night game isn’t going to encourage me to subscribe. I pay already for Sky Sports and they show two games live on a Sunday night plus rolling highlights from all the other Sunday games as they happen. That’s plenty for me.
    And as has been pointed out, MNF is actually the small hours of Tuesday in the UK. I’m not stopping up until 4:30-4:45AM for the game.

  9. Adamisserious says: Mar 29, 2010 12:53 PM

    Two years ago SNF and MNF were on free tv.
    Now, the contract for SNF is up (looks unlikely to be resigned due to the channel FIVE not posting high numbers with sports) and MNF is now on pay tv.
    Great. (oh and to those saying its on early in the morning, we do have TIVO in the UK only its called Sky+)

  10. rojones82 says: Mar 29, 2010 12:53 PM

    This really is nothing to shout about. I live in the UK and im a massive NFL Fan. But for the last 2 season i simply watch the NFL via the NFL Gamepass HD Service which meant i could pretty much follow any game whenever i wanted. cost me about £150 i think but was well worth it and i will be doing the same next season.

  11. bspurloc says: Mar 29, 2010 1:05 PM

    This UK crap is crap.
    The NFL are money grubbing scumbags.
    First they demand all the home teams be seat x amount or you will black out. Now you take home games and toss them to Canada and the UK…..
    That makes sense…. $$$ sense…. money grubbing scumbags

  12. Ravensatron says: Mar 29, 2010 1:31 PM

    Gamepass is an enormous waste. You can stream any game online at almost equal quality and at almost real-time unlike Gamepass which is about 5 minutes behind.
    Good that MNF is back on TV over here though, and i’ve only just discovered that ESPN show NCAA football here as well, it’s almost tempted me to pay the extra £9 a month for it.

  13. holycow says: Mar 29, 2010 1:38 PM

    Yey! UK coverage is now only slightly worse than it was two years ago! Progress?

  14. nvh65 says: Mar 29, 2010 2:15 PM

    I’ve had ESPN since it took over the college ball programming from Setanta (who went bust).
    I can see NCAA interest picking up from this (because people will find out its available) but it will mean nothing much to the NFL since it’s an access point for those die hards who will look for MNF but it’s not going to be a showcase for attracting new fans at 2.00am on a pay per view channel.
    It will do a bit better in mainland Europe and I don’t suppose the deal is UK only.
    Two years ago we had three games on a Sunday plus MNF and a round-up show. We currently have two games on a Sunday (the late game has been dropped).
    So much for growth and increased popularity.

  15. RexRyan'sStressedLapband says: Mar 29, 2010 3:00 PM

    Ah, American capitalism at it’s finest! I see all the Brits on here complaining about how the real situation over there is nothing like the talking head features in this story says it is. WELCOME TO BLOODY AMERICA, CHUMS!
    This is what we deal with in the land of the misled every freaking day. Some disconnected tool who has no idea what’s REALLY going on tells us all about how things are going to be better for everybody and the Easter Bunny will bring us candy! They have a cure for cancer, AIDS, and Alzheimer’s too!
    In the meantime, the same BS goes on behind our backs, as the real motivation will become apparent only after it’s too late and the golden goose is bleeding out on the floor.
    Then, they’ll just claim the terrorists did it.

  16. rojones82 says: Mar 29, 2010 4:18 PM

    As for the comment above about gamepass being useless and being capable of finding a stream online of equal qulity is complete BS. I was watching net streams for about 4 – 5 Seasons before gamepass and watched the odd few when the Bengals game was blacked out on gamepass last season, and they are nowhere near the qualit yof gamepass.
    Gamepass is close to HD quality and is a great product and one well worth paying for in my opinion.

  17. holycow says: Mar 29, 2010 5:14 PM

    Yep, Gamepass HD is fantastic.

  18. Floyd the Barber says: Mar 29, 2010 8:01 PM

    YET THE NFL OWNERS ARE CRYING POOR MOUTH WITH THE PLAYYERS??
    STRIKE! STRIKE! STRIKE!!

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