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NFL disputes characterization of Mark Waller’s London comments

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The BBC has reported that NFL executive Mark Waller has committed to the presence of an NFL team in London within six years. The NFL says that the BBC has gotten it wrong.

“Not true,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT via email in response to the BBC item. “What Mark Waller said was that when the International Series began in 2007, he felt that in 15 years, if things proceeded successfully, ownership may be in a position to make a decision about having a permanent franchise in the UK.”

Although the possibility of a team moving to London periodically is dangled (especially as the NFL prepares to play one of its various annual games there), it remains impractical, due largely to the travel time involved. Other issues complicate the league’s full-time presence in London, including exchange rates, tax rates, and the reluctance of players to move their families there. As the league increases the inventory of games played in England, it becomes more clear that the best long-term solution consists of staging up to eight neutral-site games there every year.

Then again, with the L.A. vacuum now filled by the Rams, the league will need a new public-money leverage point. Even if no team would move there anytime soon (or ever), look for London eventually to emerge as the “or else” possibility for teams in mid-level markets looking for taxpayers dollars to build or renovate their current American homes.

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51 Responses to “NFL disputes characterization of Mark Waller’s London comments”
  1. weepingjebus says: Jan 20, 2016 3:49 PM

    Gee, didn’t take them long to shoot that one down.

  2. RavenzGunnerz says: Jan 20, 2016 3:49 PM

    But seriously, NFL cannot make inroad in London or anywhere else, if no talent from those countries is developing.

    If the NFL really wants to grow in those country, they have to get the kids from those countries to play the sport. If they ain’t, it ain’t happening.

  3. Black in America says: Jan 20, 2016 3:51 PM

    I like the thinking of the NFL, they think like conquerors. Personally? It doesn’t affect my life whatsoever, other than perhaps sometime down the road during retirement to perhaps give me a reason to go visit London.

    The people passionately up in arms against this puzzle me, as in, why do you care so much? Chill bruh.

  4. accipiterq says: Jan 20, 2016 3:54 PM

    I love football, but man am I getting sick of the NFL.

  5. banyshinigami says: Jan 20, 2016 3:56 PM

    weepingjebus says:
    Jan 20, 2016 3:49 PM
    Gee, didn’t take them long to shoot that one down.
    ***************************
    Only the lies my friend only the lies

  6. mostepicgnar says: Jan 20, 2016 3:56 PM

    The London Rams

  7. mongo3401 says: Jan 20, 2016 3:56 PM

    No way the players accept this. Tex’s alone over there are crazy and away games on the West coast or visa Versa. Nope security alone would be a nightmare. Free agents would never even think about playing there.

  8. laces out says: Jan 20, 2016 3:57 PM

    only took about an hour

  9. joetoronto says: Jan 20, 2016 3:59 PM

    Oops, It’s either the Bills or the Jags.

  10. lscottman3 says: Jan 20, 2016 3:59 PM

    wow, within minutes a refute.

    11 out of 12, crickets….

    integrity….lmao

  11. granadafan says: Jan 20, 2016 4:00 PM

    LOL, everyone knows that the NFL is just blowing smoke when it comes to establishing a permanent franchise in London. Then again, there are always gullible and star struck cities like Carson, San Antonio, or Cincinnati who would give the NFL anything and everything to get/ keep an NFL team at the expense of the taxpayers.

  12. intrafinesse says: Jan 20, 2016 4:01 PM

    This can easily happen, and the potential NFL players are already there!
    All the NFL needs to do is convince the English to give up Football (Soccer) for Football (American NFL Football).

    Since the English already play “Football” I’m sure they will gladly give up soccer and convert to NFL football. Soon the French and Spanish and Italians will want their pwn franchise.
    😉

    Hmm, don’t think that will happen any day soon do you?
    Maybe when hell freezes over?

  13. chicagobtech says: Jan 20, 2016 4:04 PM

    The travel part is interesting, once you get past the “We’re crossing the Atlantic!” part. A commercial flight from New York City to Seattle is ~6h10m. Going to London is ~6h30m. Not really that much difference for all the teams up and down the East Coast.

  14. paulrevereshorse1775 says: Jan 20, 2016 4:05 PM

    I wonder how much money it would take to sell the NFL on having the Super Bowl in London.

    I’m sure the NFL has its price.

  15. clickablecontent says: Jan 20, 2016 4:05 PM

    If the NFL could pay the price tag of resurrecting and maintaining its own Concorde supersonic jet, it could ferry teams between the east coast and London in 3.5 hours. I still don’t see it though.

  16. timotheewhealon says: Jan 20, 2016 4:06 PM

    With the cost of new stadiums now approaching/surpassing $2 billion, in 10-15 years when the current wave of “new” stadia begins to be deemed unsuitable it’s going to be much harder for the NFL to blackmail cities in to wasting such huge sums to build facilities that only host their primary tenants 10 games per year.

    I think back to Denver International Airport costing $5 billion in the early 90s and now the new NFL stadium in LA is nearly $3 billion.

    The NFL got LA, but in doing so the precedent has been set for owner(s) needing to pony up for their own stadiums. And that’s just how it should be.

  17. bat42boy says: Jan 20, 2016 4:10 PM

    Our football is an American sport that should stay in America. If England wants football let them start their owns football leagues. Otherwise, they should all shut up and play their soccer that no one in America cares about.

  18. brucetrimble says: Jan 20, 2016 4:10 PM

    @accipiterq
    Ditto.

  19. browningsnagle says: Jan 20, 2016 4:10 PM

    A strong message can be sent to the NFL front office… starting next season, everyone should boycott watching any London games for the next few years…

  20. dasmol says: Jan 20, 2016 4:11 PM

    Take a good long look fellow NFL, scratch that, fellow football fans. We bear witness to the death of the NFL.

    Unabashed greed. Build it or else tactics. Questionable officiating. Scandals, scandals, scandals. A player 5 years removed from the league complaining of forgetfulness and trouble using stairs. Parents shifting their kids towards other sports, while MNF highlights local high school teams in an effort to keep the meat flowing into the grinder.

    And totally inept leadership.

  21. jm91rs says: Jan 20, 2016 4:24 PM

    It doesn’t seem like it would be all that difficult to pull off really. The home team in London plays 8 away games followed by 8 home games. They need a centrally located USA practice facility (I hear there’s an unused dome in St. Louis), and they only travel to London once. The away teams get a bye either after or before they travel. There’s certainly a tough stretch playing 8 road games in a row, but if your family settles around the practice facility it would still be like going home every week for practice. The only problem I see with it is if the London team makes the Playoffs and has home games.

    Of course everyone will cry about it because they love to hate progress, but if I have a cool reason to visit London, I’m all for it.

  22. bigbluefandom says: Jan 20, 2016 4:28 PM

    clickablecontent says:
    Jan 20, 2016 4:05 PM

    If the NFL could pay the price tag of resurrecting and maintaining its own Concorde supersonic jet, it could ferry teams between the east coast and London in 3.5 hours. I still don’t see it though.

    It takes about 5 hours to fly from Boston to San Diego. Just about the same time to fly to London from NYC (5.5 hours to 6 hrs). What’s the difference? It’s much easier to fly JFK-LHR than NYC to Dubuque, IA.

  23. thegeneral7694 says: Jan 20, 2016 4:33 PM

    Time difference isn’t just about travel time….no London team could ever appear on MNF, TNF or SNF, not at home, anyway. Never. When it’s 7pm in Chicago, it’s 2:00 the next morning in London. A franchise that can’t play in American prime time is not gonna work. That’s not to mention the costs of EVERYTHING being increased, travel and production-wise. Never gonna happen, nor should it. A few neutral site games per year is plenty.

  24. ymca2014 says: Jan 20, 2016 4:38 PM

    The London Knights (formerly the Colts). Irsay’s last act of defiance.

  25. dietrich43 says: Jan 20, 2016 4:41 PM

    As Channing Crowder found out, there’s quite the language barrier too!

  26. bobnyjets says: Jan 20, 2016 4:44 PM

    I used to watch the World League and it actually wasn’t bad when you remembered that it was a developmental league and not the NFL.

    And some teams had excellent support from their fan base.

    There is quite a bit of minor league and amateur football played in Europe.

    The only real obstacle is travel time. There will be hypersonic aircraft available within a decade or so making travel a non-issue.

    Even then football won’t be better than the #2 sport in Europe to soccer. But we do have a fairly profitable pro soccer league here in America and it isn’t even the 4 sport yet.

    But the reality is that electronic media makes local fanbases irrelevant. The NFL could put a team on the far side of the moon and it would make money.

  27. Deb says: Jan 20, 2016 4:49 PM

    It doesn’t affect my life whatsoever … [W]hy do you care so much?

    ————————————————————-
    Because the talent pool for NFL players is small. There aren’t enough “elite” players to cover the quarterback position for the 32 existing teams. The same can be said for the left tackle position and other key spots. If the league expands into other countries, that talent must also come from the NCAA. The product will become further diluted, compromising the quality of play.

    Beyond that, some of us truly love our teams. We don’t want our players having to fly across the Atlantic to play only to have to fly back and play again when their bodies are jet-lagged. We don’t want our players compromised or our teams disadvantaged to satisfy the whims of corporate jerks who care nothing about their human resources or their fans.

  28. mogogo1 says: Jan 20, 2016 4:57 PM

    A few years back NBA players were polled and something like 80% said they’d never want to play in Canada which is in the same time zones as guys’ families in the States and where travel time isn’t an issue. Any bets that close to 100% of NFL players would say “no thanks” to England? Can’t call mom because she’s asleep while you’re awake and traveling home over the bye week takes forever and results in jet lag. They’d lose every promising player the minute his rookie contract was up.

  29. icanspeel says: Jan 20, 2016 5:22 PM

    NFL might dispute it now, but it’s no secret they are interested in that market. I love football, but I really question how the NFL is ran.

  30. pastorfootball says: Jan 20, 2016 5:23 PM

    If they don’t call them the London Silly Nannies I want no part in it.

  31. astiowa says: Jan 20, 2016 5:26 PM

    If the NFL wants to expand internationally, why the UK? Mexico and Canada would be easier. If the NFL is really set on Europe, London is still the wrong spot. Look at attendance, etc. during the old World League/NFL Europe days. The London Monarchs folded due to declining attendance after the newness wore off. By the end most of the teams were in Germany. The Frankfurt Galaxy is the only team that was in the league from beginning to end. The Rhein Fire were added when the US teams left and they converted to a Europe only league, and it lasted until the league folded. If the NFL is set on putting a team in Europe; why not Germany where they actually embraced and supported it last time?

  32. maestro1899 says: Jan 20, 2016 5:27 PM

    I would like to see an article about whether terrorism will play a part in whether a franchise is placed in London or not.

    With everything going on in the world and especially in Europe, if I was a player I would be concerned about living in London.

  33. catquick says: Jan 20, 2016 5:38 PM

    It should be new England. They already have England in the name.

  34. ytrappin504 says: Jan 20, 2016 5:57 PM

    No one wants to play on London. Waste of resources and money

  35. chrisk61 says: Jan 20, 2016 6:01 PM

    it’s only 1 data point…

    but I know very very many eagles and giants fans badly wanted their team to win the final regular season game vs each other…

    to avoid playing in London vs stl next yr

  36. theofficialshotcaller says: Jan 20, 2016 6:44 PM

    How’s this for an idea – instead of sending a team to London (terrible), we just send Roger Goodell to London. Like, permanently. Don’t really care what he does there as long as it has nothing to do with the NFL.

  37. chesswhileyouplaycheckers says: Jan 20, 2016 6:55 PM

    lscottman3 says:
    Jan 20, 2016 3:59 PM
    wow, within minutes a refute.

    11 out of 12, crickets….

    integrity….lmao
    ————————–

    Exactly. Is there an intelligent fan out there that didn’t think that before they even clicked on the article?

  38. monkeesfan says: Jan 20, 2016 7:05 PM

    The “vacuum” in LA was never anything beyond a fantasy of some teams and the league office and London is a bigger and phonier fantasy. LA will eventually flop as a football market as it always fails as any sports market (how’s the Fontana Speedway working for NASCAR now?) and London can’t even start.

  39. securb2013 says: Jan 20, 2016 7:12 PM

    There will be a team in Mexico before London, book it. The NFL has been trying to grab the Latin market for years.

  40. davew128 says: Jan 20, 2016 7:23 PM

    chicagobtech says:
    Jan 20, 2016 4:04 PM

    The travel part is interesting, once you get past the “We’re crossing the Atlantic!” part. A commercial flight from New York City to Seattle is ~6h10m. Going to London is ~6h30m. Not really that much difference for all the teams up and down the East Coast.
    ***********************
    And what about teams in the Midwest or West Coast??? You cant be having teams lose a day of preparation SOLELY for travel time.

  41. docboss says: Jan 20, 2016 7:40 PM

    Now that the Ram$ situation is settled, I suspect no franchise moves until the more “aged” owners’ estates endure their tax problems. Sales to new, “profit centered” entities as in DC, LA, Dallas, etc., will make London possible. There was a seismic shift in the nature of the league with the LA relocation. The money guys rule.

  42. corvusrex96 says: Jan 20, 2016 8:08 PM

    Without the Rams what is the NFL to do for London games ? Many teams with new publicly funded stadiums have clauses that state that ALL home games must be played in their home city . Which is why it is usually the Rams and Jags giving up home games

  43. Modern Day Einstein says: Jan 20, 2016 8:12 PM

    The Limeys are fantastic, this move will not kill football, it will kill soccer.

    Americans are proving mighty ignorant, why deprive fellow humans of the greatest sport in the world?

    It sounds… stupid to oppose this, especially with things like “Well its not the NFL, it needs to be the International Football League!”

    Well, the NBA has a team in Canada and the world didn’t end.

    Just chill and let the game grow, if we export the game, we save it. Lord knows if a lot of people in our own country had their way football would be dead within a generation. We need to grow the game.

  44. streetyson says: Jan 20, 2016 8:40 PM

    corvusrex96 says:
    Jan 20, 2016 8:08 PM
    Without the Rams what is the NFL to do for London games ? Many teams with new publicly funded stadiums have clauses that state that ALL home games must be played in their home city
    ————————
    You’ll probably find it’s in the small-print of any team moving to LA, or wherever, that they have to work international games into their new stadium agreenents. However, another circumventing solution is just to restructure the season schedule as an “away” game for both teams.

    Virgin Atlantic plans to have a supersonic business jet back in the air by 2019, entering service in 2022. Does that year ring a bell?

  45. zeke2517 says: Jan 20, 2016 8:45 PM

    From a logistical standpoint, that is a really dumb idea. We really want some team to have to fly across the Atlantic eight times a year? Sometimes to the west coast?

    On what planet does that make sense?

  46. streetyson says: Jan 20, 2016 9:19 PM

    astiowa says:
    Jan 20, 2016 5:26 PM
    If the NFL is really set on Europe, London is still the wrong spot. Look at attendance, etc. during the old World League/NFL Europe days. The London Monarchs folded due to declining attendance after the newness wore off.
    —————————-
    That’s not how it went. I worked in London in the early 90s and went to all the Monarchs WLAF games and they were well attended. What happened was that the WLAF didn’t take off in the US as much as the NFL hoped and the WLAF folded after just 2 years. This massively pissed off a lot of London fans because the NFL had committed to 5yrs min. So when NFL Europe was born a little later, many London fans didn’t go back, partly because they didn’t trust the NFL’s new promises and partly because a Europe league didn’t have as much appeal as a World League. Another problem back then was that the stadium seats were uncomfortable because they were only designed to cope with 90-100mins of soccer, and after 3hrs were painful!

  47. ncbengalmike says: Jan 20, 2016 9:32 PM

    zeke2517 says:
    Jan 20, 2016 8:45 PM
    From a logistical standpoint, that is a really dumb idea. We really want some team to have to fly across the Atlantic eight times a year? Sometimes to the west coast?

    On what planet does that make sense?
    ____________________
    NFL Planet.

    This WILL happen. They will 8 straight home games and 8 straight road games. It will happen

  48. samitonsports says: Jan 20, 2016 10:04 PM

    A team in Toronto would make way more sense over a team in London.

  49. leftypointspread says: Jan 20, 2016 10:24 PM

    I think Mexico would bring in more $ , which is all the NFL cares about.

  50. bergencountyjc says: Jan 20, 2016 11:36 PM

    The NFL has enough money to bring the Concorde out of retirement and pay for whatever necessary maintenance staff is needed. Then it would only be a 3 hr flight across the pond; schedule West Coast games after a few East Coast/Central games to adjust to the time and then a 2 week bye week when they get back.

  51. 3yrsnfl says: Jan 21, 2016 2:45 AM

    Why is there not much talk about Mexico City? Azteca Stadium holds over 90,000. The Raiders should use there as leverage. AND…there will be faster jet liners in the near future. The NFL could probably build their own fleet.

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