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Robert Kraft tells UK fans: It’s time for an NFL franchise in London

Robert Kraft AP

The Patriots are in London this weekend to play the Rams in the NFL’s annual game at Wembley Stadium, and New England owner Robert Kraft says he believes the U.K. is ready for eight games a year in London.

Appearing at an NFL fan event that drew thousands to Trafalgar Square, Kraft said he believes the time has come for a London-based NFL team.

“You’re already hosting the Premier League, and we believe we’re the premier sport in the world,” Kraft said, via Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. “I think London has shown, with the way they’ve handled the Olympics and every other major sporting event, that it’s time for you to have your own NFL franchise, based in London.”

The NFL insists that it can make things work in London, and starting next year the league will have two games a year across the pond. But filling Wembley Stadium for a game or two a year is still a long ways away from filling Wembley Stadium for eight games a year, year after year, in a country where American football is still viewed as a curiosity, not a passion.

So the NFL still has work to do before a franchise in London is viable. But Kraft thinks it’s close.

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54 Responses to “Robert Kraft tells UK fans: It’s time for an NFL franchise in London”
  1. daburgher says: Oct 27, 2012 9:47 AM

    Then why don’t you, Mr kraft, volunteer your team to move.. london does not deserve a franchise

  2. crnvic847 says: Oct 27, 2012 9:48 AM

    Let’s see here. Is it going to be the London dolphins, London bucs, London jaguars, London bills, or the London rams?

  3. moss49thteam says: Oct 27, 2012 9:52 AM

    So in two years the NFL is going to expand to 34 teams? One in London and one in LA…..

    The NFL will then align into two Super Conferences the AFC and NFC. An extra playoff tier will be added to the playoff bracket so that 16 teams will make it.

    London does not even have a team and I hate them already.

  4. absolutsaints says: Oct 27, 2012 9:53 AM

    In the words of Mike Ditka… STOP IT!

  5. tannethrill says: Oct 27, 2012 9:55 AM

    This is ridiculous. My main issue here is that an entire team is going to be forced to move their families to a different country in order to play in the NFL.

    Just seems like a lot to ask of an entire franchise and the travel involved seems to be too much between the team coming to the states for 8 games and 8 teams going to them to play.

    Doesn’t Canada or Mexico seem like a more reasonable step?

    This isn’t even taking into consideration the fact that they have a different monetary system which I’d assume would cause problems for the salary cap.

    All I know is if I was a player I wouldn’t want to live in London.

    Forget the well compensated players, what about the guys that aren’t making much, just trying to make a team.

    It’s a competitive disadvantage for the team in London and frankly why in the world are we worried about fans in London when there’s multiple markets here that would love a team. Obviously Los Angeles comes to mind but so does San Antonio and Virginia.

  6. uwachampion says: Oct 27, 2012 9:59 AM

    Why does one game a year constitute the UK having a Franchise?

  7. strokeytheclown says: Oct 27, 2012 10:03 AM

    Didn’t we break away from England for a reason?

  8. ssn760 says: Oct 27, 2012 10:05 AM

    One must also consider fluctuating exchange rates, and the difference in federal income taxes versus much higher tax rates in any European country. This must be accounted for in the team in question’s salary cap.

    Higher cap also means that the team needs to have higher revenues in order for the owner to be profitable. What effect does that have on current owner revenue sharing agreements?

    I don’t think this is nearly as simple as just sticking the Jags in London.

  9. dalucks says: Oct 27, 2012 10:13 AM

    If Robert Kraft wants a NFL franchise in the UK then he should move the Patriots. If he is not going to move the Patriots then he should sit down and shut up.

    For the less informed, UK means United Kingdom and not the University of Kentucky. Just to let you know and help you out. You are welcome.

  10. stew48 says: Oct 27, 2012 10:14 AM

    The English, internationally, are our best friends. Please do not punish them.

  11. husky2score says: Oct 27, 2012 10:15 AM

    Let’s just move the whole NFL to London if we’re so obsessed about it!

  12. jetsrkillinme says: Oct 27, 2012 10:18 AM

    This is the most idiotic thing that Krafty Bob has done since he went parading around Israel with the Vince Lombardi trophy.
    Please make him stop.

  13. dienavinjohnson says: Oct 27, 2012 10:26 AM

    Once the NFL moves a team, or two, to Los Angeles, they’ll need a new “bogeyman” for threatening cities with NFL franchises when they want new facilities or upgraded facilities.

    Ladies and gentlemen, introducing London…and Toronto.

  14. jojopuppyfish says: Oct 27, 2012 10:27 AM

    If you are going to put a team in a country, I think Mexico is a good idea.
    6 years ago, they had a NFL game in Mexico and over 100,00 people showed up. And the NFL never went there again.
    Why Not?

  15. AlanSaysYo says: Oct 27, 2012 10:29 AM

    London is the gateway expansion city. Once there’s a team in London, it’s easier to say “let’s put a team in Frankfurt.” Before you know it, you have a whole division of teams over there, and the London SuperShaguars are playing the Vatican City Saints.

  16. illinininer says: Oct 27, 2012 10:29 AM

    Greed.

  17. pilot2011 says: Oct 27, 2012 10:30 AM

    there ya go, tell them that our game is superior to theirs and the rest of the world. No thanks bro.

  18. purplengold says: Oct 27, 2012 10:31 AM

    What nonsense. If Europe wanted american football, they would already have it. The game is not copyrighted.

  19. lennydpocketqb says: Oct 27, 2012 10:33 AM

    Please let it be the Bills.

  20. footballfan01 says: Oct 27, 2012 10:36 AM

    Robert Kraft should just shut up.

  21. sabatimus says: Oct 27, 2012 10:36 AM

    I think it’s spelled “It’s time for a new European football league separate from the NFL.”

  22. noremixingofnflfilmsmusic says: Oct 27, 2012 10:38 AM

    The issues of living in London for months or moving your family there are non factors. I’m sure the NFL would arrange it so that the London team has an east coast base from where they train, live, and travel. Their schedule could probably be arranged so that they play 2-3 home games in a row followed by 2-3 road games.

  23. pencilmonkeymagic says: Oct 27, 2012 10:39 AM

    Fans in the UK already have their favourite teams. They won’t travel to Wembley to watch a different one for eight games a year.

  24. CKL says: Oct 27, 2012 10:39 AM

    This is the one thing on earth I dislike about Kraft, his obsession with having games and teams in England. Most British fans of the NFL I know of already have a team to which they are loyal. They aren’t going to switch loyalties if a new team comes to their country.

  25. zbigern says: Oct 27, 2012 10:39 AM

    What licks the worst is the amount of power Kraft has in the NFL. Much of what he says-goes…If Mr Macaroni&Cheese wants a team in London? There will be a team in London. I hate the idea. It makes my stomach turn thinking about MY team playing a single game over there, let alone the poor fanbase who may lose a team to those evil oppressors of the world…HATE IT!

  26. annes22 says: Oct 27, 2012 10:41 AM

    They had it a few years ago for goodness sake.
    What’s wrong with living in London, it’s a great place to live? Maybe expensive, but the people insulting living there, get a life, you have no clue.
    Probably never even been there.
    There will be 80,000 people there tomorrow, but I doubt it every week if they re started it.
    Mr Kraft is one of the better owners, so people will listen to him.

  27. mazblast says: Oct 27, 2012 10:59 AM

    dalucks says: Oct 27, 2012 10:13 AM

    If Robert Kraft wants a NFL franchise in the UK then he should move the Patriots. If he is not going to move the Patriots then he should sit down and shut up.
    ————————————-
    Exactly. Perhaps this is a case where the ventriloquist talks, then the dummy (Goodell) replies.

  28. wideright91 says: Oct 27, 2012 11:03 AM

    Bob Kraft (as well as Jerry) is doing everything he can to ruin the NFL. Nothing but greed. Little does he know that his stadium will be empty when Brady and Bellicheck retire.

  29. jikkle49 says: Oct 27, 2012 11:12 AM

    Seriously NFL give this up. It’s a logistical nightmare and a competitive disadvantage for the team in London and the team playing against London.
    Could you imagine being in the same division as the London team? Having to travel to London once a year every year?
    What about the playoffs? Imagine the scenario if London team hosts a west coast team in the wild card round and that west coast team wins and has to travel to the east coast for the divisional round? I can’t imagine a team traveling from California to London back to California to New York isn’t a disadvantage in the least.

  30. silverbackdk says: Oct 27, 2012 11:13 AM

    I would like know what european TV-ratings are like – to measure the passion for football (NFL). I know the game in london is not just a UK thing, but a european thing. personally I’m a lot more inti Football than soccer and I would be inclined to travel to games within Europe. But maybe it would make more sense if a division of 4 teams was established in europe and maybe one in asia….so an 8 team expansion instead of relocation…

  31. wvucolumbus says: Oct 27, 2012 11:13 AM

    Mr. Kraft-You are not Mr. Rooney or Mr. Mara. In other words, your opinion carries minimal weight.

  32. Wolfgang Depner says: Oct 27, 2012 11:16 AM

    Kraft’s attitude towards fans in London is pretty arrogant. Telling audiences that the the EPL is just second best is pretty rich when you are trying to promote a sport that ranks somewhere between darts and lawn bowlin on the UK dial.

  33. illiniftw says: Oct 27, 2012 11:24 AM

    Might be a nice place to live, but the food is terrible!! Will be hard to keep some of the guys over 300 lb! (Or however many stones that is)

  34. mrbigass says: Oct 27, 2012 11:29 AM

    The idea of a team in the UK makes me ill. Can you imagine the travel nightmare of a team there tryin’ to fly here every other week for a game.

    And think about west coast. London to San Diego. Yep, that would be fun…….

  35. FinFan68 says: Oct 27, 2012 11:33 AM

    Kraft and Goodell are very wrong on this one. Expansion for the sake of “potential” revenue will hurt the game/league. Is $9B/yr not enough? These businessmen cannot fathom leaving an untapped market alone and the “world domination in sport” mentality reeks of a 007 movie villain.

    There is no reason to attempt this (profit is a guess and a net loss is just as likely long-term) and the cons far outweigh the pros. The logistics are a huge issue and the competitive advantage/disadvantage will not truly be solved. The UK fills a stadium for one game a year and somehow that is justification for a team hosting 8 games a year there. Faulty logic. The novelty will wear off and as others have said, NFL fans in the UK already have favorite teams. Some will change allegiance due to geography but not enough to fill the stadium weekly.

    Many of the changes, whether already implemented or implied for the future, will dilute the game in my opinion.

  36. juliodamfoolio says: Oct 27, 2012 11:39 AM

    This is just insanity fueled by greed. If Kraft or anyone else thinks the NFL will ever supplant Premier League soccer over there they are out of their minds.

    Totally agree that if Kraft wants it that badly then he is more than welcome to send his Pats over there. Maybe they will take the Jets with them.

  37. jimcaldwellsucks says: Oct 27, 2012 11:45 AM

    Then by all means Bobby move your Patriots.

    Losing a team couldn’t happen to a better fan base.

    Then just call them the England Patriots.

  38. osiris33 says: Oct 27, 2012 11:46 AM

    How can a league thatcan’t even place a team in the nation’s 2nd largest city even discuss putting a team in London? Get a team in LA then sit down and shut up.

  39. ravenator says: Oct 27, 2012 12:04 PM

    So is the NFL going to change its acronym to the WFL, World Football League? Give it up Kraft, you sound ridiculous.

  40. tannethrill says: Oct 27, 2012 12:06 PM

    noremixingofnflfilmsmusic…

    First of all I can’t see a team basing it’s operation on the east coast and flying to London 8 times a year and being on the road 8 times a year. That’s an unbelievable competitive disadvantage.

    They would need to be based in London in order to build the brand as opposed to acting like a traveling roadshow. Which means their families would either need to be away from them or become residents.

    Basically if you want to see your kids you need to enroll them in a school which will teach the metric system as well as another country’s history among other big differences.

    I’m sure it’s a nice place to live if you CHOOSE to live there but forcing someone right out of college to move and represent another country is ridiculous.

    My suggestion would be to hold tryouts for UK residents, create two teams of locals and start growing from there.

    They’ll never embrace Americans playing American football but I could see them embracing their own people.

  41. deep64blue says: Oct 27, 2012 12:08 PM

    He does realise the Draft would be illegal under European law doesn’t he? I find it ironic how many Americans go on about ‘Socialist’ Europe where we would never allow such a restraint on trade as the Draft.

  42. schmitty2 says: Oct 27, 2012 12:10 PM

    I couldn’t imagine a team playing in a place where team meals consisted of tea and crumpets

  43. Deb says: Oct 27, 2012 12:12 PM

    I always used to respect Mr. Kraft’s opinion.

  44. realitypolice says: Oct 27, 2012 12:20 PM

    deep64blue says:
    Oct 27, 2012 12:08 PM
    He does realise the Draft would be illegal under European law doesn’t he? I find it ironic how many Americans go on about ‘Socialist’ Europe where we would never allow such a restraint on trade as the Draft.
    ===================

    Nonsense. There are plenty of restraints on player movement in European leagues. They are not free to move from team to team as they wish.

    If players can be restricted from switching teams and be bought and sold like cattle, certainly they can participate in a draft.

  45. mike8016 says: Oct 27, 2012 1:09 PM

    First off i don’t think any player would want to play in London. Almost every player is from the United States and they would want to stay in a place they are comfortable. 2nd off the travel schedule would be brutal. It would cause a serious disadvantage for teams to travel to London and it would be horrible for the London team to travel to the United States. 3rd if Robert Kraft really wants a team in London Move the Patriots and change there name to something else. Just because this works for a couple games a year doesn’t mean it will work for a full season. Your better off putting a team in Canada. We already have seen it can be decent with other sports doing it.

  46. abninf says: Oct 27, 2012 1:45 PM

    Imagine the taxes the players and employees would have to cough up living there.

  47. direwolf748 says: Oct 27, 2012 1:50 PM

    hey look at that mr. kraft, your team already has England in it’s name.

  48. doe22us says: Oct 27, 2012 2:14 PM

    This idea is ludicrous and stupid at best, imagine have a premiership or la Liga team based in the States. It doesnt even make any sense whatsoever.

  49. realfann says: Oct 27, 2012 3:18 PM

    So now we know whose hand was up the puppet Goodell when he driveled on about a London Superbowl.

    Kraft has been and will continue to be very bad for football.

  50. surly1n1nd1anapol1s says: Oct 27, 2012 5:18 PM

    He should step up. Change the name to Old England Monarchs.

    Amazing what guys do largely with married money.

  51. ian40uk says: Oct 27, 2012 5:19 PM

    The NFL would be much better investing in the grass roots of the sport here in the UK.

    Ive been to every NFL game in the UK and enjoyed it alot, but ive been a Patriots fan for 25 years now so wouldnt switch to become a fan of another team just because it is “local”

  52. spoilerfutbol says: Oct 28, 2012 12:24 AM

    Move the Browns again hahaha
    I think Mexico could be better than UK for NFL franchise, we love football ! in London the fans just go crazy when there is a kickoff or FG hahaha

  53. rcali says: Oct 28, 2012 1:55 PM

    Everybody, if the NFL thought it could make money selling your kids for you, they would do it. It’s only viewed as a business from their view while it’s a hobby to the rest of us. The fans are only pawns in this game.

  54. deep64blue says: Oct 30, 2012 2:03 PM

    @ realitypolice says:-

    There are plenty of restraints on player movement in European leagues. They are not free to move from team to team as they wish.

    If players can be restricted from switching teams and be bought and sold like cattle, certainly they can participate in a draft.

    =======================

    European law enforces contracts a player has signed but has greatly increased the freedom players have. They can only be transferred if they agree a contract with the buying team, unlike the American systems where the contract can be assigned.

    I can assure you the Draft would be illegal in Europe.

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