Although the NFL is focused more right now on making regular visits to London, the league may eventually have a team there permanently.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday that he sees continued growth in the NFL’s popularity in the United Kingdom, and it could continue to grow to the point where a franchise is there.
“Every time we give our U.K. fans, and I think this is true on a global basis, an opportunity to engage with football, the fans want more, and the key to our strategy several years ago was to give them the real thing, regular season games, and I think that’s worked,” Goodell said. “I think fans have appreciated that. Every year I go back to London, I see the fans are more sophisticated. They understand the game more. They’re following it more. We expect a big audience will be in the U.K. watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, Monday morning I think their time. That’s exciting for us. We are considering playing more games in the U.K. It’s a balancing act with our schedule. As you know, we’re playing in two different stadiums this year, so that gives us a little bit more flexibility in how we do that, but I believe the future will see more games in the U.K. As far as a franchise, let’s continue to grow. Let’s continue to see that excitement and enthusiasm, passion and support continue to develop. If it does, I think that’s a realistic possibility.”
The league would still have to figure out all kinds of logistical issues before a team in London could be feasible, and a franchise there is several years off if it ever happens. But now that the NFL has finally filled its vacancy in Los Angeles, speculation may now turn to whether a team will move to London.