In 2009, Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC reported that the NFL eventually would send the same team to London every year, in the hopes of building a fan base there. The thinking is that fans become truly rabid about the game when they “fall in love” with a given team. Then, if the NFL ever decides to move a team to London, the team that has been going there every year becomes the obvious candidate.
In 2011, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Bears in London for the second time in three years. Thus, some could conclude that the Bucs could be moving closer to a move to London.
For now, that conclusion apparently would be incorrect. The Bucs, still faced with struggles when it comes to selling tickets to home games, should be thrilled to give up a home game in order to make it easier to sell tickets to the other seven. Indeed, the last time the Bucs cashed in with a home game in London, the franchise bought the unsold non-premium seats in order to allow all home games to be televised.
Still, if the Bucs continue to go to London on a regular basis, they will eventually establish a fan base in England, of some size. If the fan base becomes big enough, who knows?
That said, and as Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com recently pointed out, a move by the Bucs would take Tampa out of the Super Bowl rotation. And after attending a Super Bowl in Tampa, here’s one vote for the Bucs never moving.