As the NFL hopes to invade the U.K. in the same way the Beatles and other bands invaded the U.S. in the ’60s, a star soccer player from England thinks that pro football may not have too bright of a future in London.
“I’m not sure,” Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard told Dan Patrick on Tuesday regarding whether the NFL can survive there. ”I’m not sure. I think it’s very different cultures, in sporting terms. And I think we find that’s why the MLS is sort of growing here. But it’s never had the history of the other sports in America, and the same with England. So I’m not sure. We’re very sort of set in our ways about sports. So it’s a tough one to say.”
Lampard has a point, but the NFL isn’t implementing a five-year or even a 10-year plan. This is a long-term effort to change the culture. Even if it takes 50 or 100 years, the thinking is that eventually the sport will reach in other countries the same tipping point that made the NFL the dominant sport in America.
To get to that tipping point, there needs to be a team around which British fans can rally.
Even if the NFL never overtakes soccer beyond our borders, simply sharing that spotlight with the other kind of fútbol could dramatically expand the revenues realized by the folks who own pro football teams.