In another sign that the NFL expects to have a deal in place to end the lockout soon, the league is stepping up its efforts to sell tickets to the October 23 Bears-Bucs game at Wembley Stadium in London.
The league has previously said that if a deal isn’t done by August 1, the London game will be moved to Tampa. But today the NFL’s UK office sent an e-mail to local fans suggesting that a deal is close and urging them to buy their tickets to the Wembley Stadium game now.
“Negotiating teams from the NFL owners and players will resume talks aimed at getting a new Collective Bargaining Agreement agreed, which would end the four-month labour dispute and guarantee a fifth consecutive International Series game at Wembley Stadium,” said the e-mail, which was forwarded to PFT by a UK reader. “NFL General Counsel Jeff Pash says: ‘The principals have done their jobs, the commissioner [Roger Goodell] and Mr [DeMaurice] Smith, and the owners and players have done their work. Now it’s up to us to get things properly documented, identify any remaining points that need to be cleared up and keep driving this process toward a conclusion.”
The NFL’s decision to tell British fans to expect the game is good news for everyone who wants to see the lockout come to an end soon. And bad news only for the players who hate having to travel to London during the season.