Goodell hints again at a UK franchise

With the NFL prepared to play its fourth annual regular-season game at Wembley Stadium in London, Commissioner Roger Goodell has reiterated a distinct possibility regarding the future of pro football in England.

Speaking at panel discussion of the Global Sport Summit in London, Goodell addressed the growth of the NFL in countries other than the U.S. of A., and he said that the league is seeing progress in this regard.

“All of that leads to a fan that’s more avid,” Goodell said, “and we’re seeing that here in this market and we hope to continue that growth.  We’ve said frequently that it possibly could lead to a franchise here in the UK.”

As to more immediate possibilities, Goodell was more guarded.  He said that the league considered playing more than one game in England during the 2010 season, but that the idea was shelved due to the CBA uncertainties.  “We felt we had to fix that priority before we engaged in multiple games here, but it is very much our intent to be playing multiple games here,” Goodell said.

Goodell explained that playing multiple games in London will be a precursor to placement of a team there on a permanent basis.  “I think the next step will be multiple games and if that’s successful then I think the idea of a franchise here is realistic,” Goodell said.  “As far as a timetable, I’ll just say one thing:  I’m not as concerned about doing it with any sort of a time frame other than as fast as is practical, but you want to be successful.  That’s more important to me than making it fit within any sort of time frame.”

Goodell emphasized that he’s also not twiddling his thumbs in this regard.  “Don’t mistake me as being patient,” he said.  “I’m not a very patients individual.”  And so he said that it’s “very possible” an NFL team will be headquartered in London during Goodell’s tenure as NFL Commissioner.

42 responses to “Goodell hints again at a UK franchise

  1. You think the Premiership would put a soccer team over here? Hell no, because the US hates soccer. American football over there will have minimal followers at best. And the logistics of it are just ridiculous.

  2. Sorry, but I cannot buy Goodell’s comments about a franchise in London. Would be a brutal schedule and horrible travel for too many people and definitely influence outcomes of games.
    Sounds like trying to keep the Brits and Americans currently living there on the hook with bated breath so they continue to go to the games over there and, moreover, continue to reach into their wallets to purchase NFL licensed merchandise, etc.
    It’s all about a money grab and finding other revenue streams so the NFL’s till continues to grow to placate owners demands to grow the value of franchises.

  3. With blackouts EVERY week … Goodell, yes YOU sir are an idiot …. get a quality product (including affordable ticket prices) on the field and people will come and watch, buy food and beverages and NFL merchandise.
    If it takes the average fan at least 5-6 hours (including to and from the stadium) of his time and at least $100 per person to watch ONE game while you can have ALL the games for some $400 EVERY weekend in HD with better and more coverage and insight, with internet connection for FF updates, your own BBQ with friends, your own stall and couch …..
    Put a better product in the stadium, with fewer interuptions (commercial breaks, DON’T HAVE BREAKS JUST FOR COMMERCIALS!!!) and more additional entertainment and you may actually sell out. I cannot take this time away from my family on the weekend after working 60 hours every week and my family is not willing to spend this kind of time AND money every weekend so that I can watch a game in person. So this is relegated to once a year.
    More and more I have to say I am stupified every time I sit in the stadium with nothing to do or look at during the ever lengthening commercial breaks which have nothing to do with the dynamic on the field.
    The prices to attent games constantly increase, the commericla breaks continue to lengthen … get a clue Goodell … it will not last forever ….

  4. What an absolutely terrible idea. I would hope the union would be dead against this but since this hasn’t ever been mentioned to my knowledge it isn’t on their radar.
    I wonder if the NFL enjoys any special privilege that the congress could strip away from the league for going outside of the U.S. or Canada?

  5. Pure madness. So one or two games a year satisfies the UK’s interest in NFL football. But how will a full season or two playout? Did they really take to the game or just the hoopla surrounding it? How do you handle the time difference for the Almighty TV Dollar? And knowing the goofyness the NFL can foster, I can see this team being placed in a Western Division.
    One other thing. Hey Roger, so how did that NFL Europa thingy work for you? Riiiight.

  6. I’ve defended Goodell for years but this is over the line.
    Putting a team in London would be asinine. The travel is awful, the fans aren’t that interested in American football, and I cannot imagine this team being at the top of any free agent’s list.
    Has the league ever addressed the idea that nobody will want to play on that team? In a league filled with American players, given the choice between an American team and a team across the Atlantic Ocean, wouldn’t the American almost always choose to stay in the country?

  7. Goodell is out of his mind. First off he’s lying, this has nothing to do with fans and everything to do with money, just like every other decision he’s made as commissioner. It’s reminiscent of the current election cycle, with hundreds of millions of dollars are pouring in from foreign enterprises to help make ads for candidates claiming they want to help the average guy be employed when really all they will do is please those money bosses and keep sending them the jobs. It’s a nice bait and switch but its still just us getting jobbed every time.

  8. This guy is a complete dolt.
    Especially during a time may of his fellow citizens are pushing soccer for its global justice impact.
    But, I guess, get yours whilst are able.
    There is no question the NFL’s best days are behind it, and it will eventually become less popular between the foolish rule changes and the “nudging” of young people to choose soccer as their preferred sport.

  9. He better also create a German, Spanish, Italian and French team too so they can have their own league… 18 games and regular trips over the pond? Yeah right. Especially if you play for the UK squad… I’m sure the Players Union would love that idea.
    Then again, having a team you know you can bet against due to jet-lag each week isn’t a bad idea.

  10. There is a need for an NFL minor league. There are many test markets that could thrive with a minor league and it gives time for your young talent to develop in the pro system while de-emphasizing paying huge dollars to unproven talent. You earn your money. And the chances a franchise not being set back years by a bad draft is less likely.

  11. They would just charge all of us more for our games to pay for the logistics of one. Goodell needs to take a look at what NASCAR did. Popular sport, but then they went bog time, with big money payouts and big money ticket prices. They can’t even sell out their boiggest event any longer. But the drivers, instead of the o;ld days when they raced for their money, sure as heck are not taking a pay cut! I hope Goodell does not fall into that trap.

  12. I don’t understand why they’d put a team there. They will never get any big name players and I’d expect anyone they draft would leave as soon as their contract was up.
    8 games a season with what a 5 to 8 hour time difference. Teams talk about how it’s tough just traveling coast to coast here.

  13. I live in the UK, and I agree this is a totally dumb idea. I am a huge NFL fan, and I know there are many like me, but frankly the majority of people in this country do not give a damn about the NFL and because of that I really don’t see them selling out two Wembley games a year. They haven’t even sold out this one yet (still roughly 1,000 tickets or more left).
    An NFL franchise in the UK is an even worse idea. The logistics are horrible, and no way will they sell out 8 home games a year (unless they move to a much smaller stadium, but then whats the point?).
    I’ve been to many NFL games in the USA and the Wembley game atmosphere is never the same, and always awfully subdued and frankly BORING. The NFL should primarily remain in the US.
    I go at least once a year to a game in the US so I can see games with a real atmosphere and energy (cant beat a good divisional game!). Maybe the Wembley game will inspire more people to do this, because the UK game is not a “real” NFL game in my eyes.

  14. Great! now they will be outsourcing the NFL too. Not to mention that there are already more then enough franchises and the more there are the harder it will be to win a championship for the teams we already have and as it stands now fans of many teams will have to do cryogenics and wake up a hundred years from now in order to wait long enough to see their team win a championship. It is true that Goodell isn’t a patient man, it seems like like he’s ruining the NFL as fast as he can. We’ll see how the tough ass Rugby lovers take to this new watered down wussy ass make a legal hit at your own financial risk NFL that Goodell and the greedy (protect my investment by ruining the sport) owners are so impatiently creating or I mean un-creating.

  15. Why does Goodell care if EU fans are avid? He does not care about fans. He does not care about anything but empire-building. That requires expansion expansion expansion … with no thought for logistics or where he’ll get player personnel.
    Right now the college system can’t produce enough top-caliber QB talent to cover 18 teams, let alone 32. So to keep expanding, we’ll have to get used to watching subpar quarterbacks. And we’ll have to make it easier for them to score. That means taming our defenses, making sure they aren’t too aggressive. Casual fans want to see high-flying offenses and high-scoring games. They don’t understand trench warfare and the grind-’em-out style of a game based on Manifest Destiny. And low-scoring games frustrate the Fantasy players who’ve revitalized the league.
    Yes, Emperor Goodell has a Master Plan to dilute the sport, spread talent so thin we’re all watching UFL/CFL, and basically turn the NFL from a powerful, uniquely American entertainment into a sports version of McDonald’s.
    Long past time for a coup. Where oh where is this insane dictator’s Brutus?

  16. Complete and utter joke. Hey Americans, wake up!!! The rest of the world doesn’t give a crap about the NFL! Don’t dilute our product by sending games overseas or creating useless franchises in places they won’t succeed. If the NFL was so popular, why didn’t they keep the European League going? I’m sick of hearing about 18 games and a team in the UK, sick of it.

  17. Goodell has done some good things for the league but this is not one of them. This is an absolutely stupid idea. Everybody knows it except for Goodell and the lackeys that keep pushing this idea. He thinks himself a visionary and the man to lead the NFL into the global market of the future. This will kill the NFL. He may turn a slight profit but in less than 3 years (very optimistic timeline) any EU based franchise will fold. The old league’s novelty wore off and fewer “fans” went to the games as time wore on. Stop playing regular season games overseas and abandon the ridiculous concept of trying to put a full fleged franchise over there. There is minimal support and as others have stated, the logistics are ridiculous. Leave the teams/schedule whetr it is and work on improving the rules written by lawyers (just keep it simple), the horrible officiating, and the prejudicial way that controversies are settled by “management”

  18. I’m not convinced that Goodell is the only one in Bed with this idea. Look at the greedy owners…Jerry Jones, Snyder, and the others. They are driving this as well.
    The NFL will eventually go the way of the NBA. No defense, fixed games, all about showtime….and completely leave the roots that made it so popular.
    This is all about greed. Been a NFL fan for 36 years, but it’s been dying off a little every year for the past 5 years. When Dictator Goodell moves the Super Bowl to overseas…that will be the final straw for me.

  19. I live in the UK and dont think its a good idea. Firstly many fans have been following the NFL since the 80’s so they already have a team they have followed for years, flown to America to watch etc.
    So if the ‘London Jaguars’ start up they’ll still be supporting their team which theyve followed for 25 years.
    I’m a Raiders fan, on a sunday night am i going to travel 250 miles to watch a game in London between two teams i dont care for ? Or watch the Raiders live on NFL Gamepass ? No contest (despite how bad the Raiders have been the last 8 years).
    Plus fans are fickle in the UK just like many other places, the second the ‘London Jaguars’ start to lose they’ll turn away in their droves. Imagine late December, freezing cold in the UK, the London team vs the 2-13 Lions etc, the attendance will be about 20,000.
    When London had that WLAF team the Monarchs, that first year they had 60k fans, next season with the team playing badly they were down to 28-35.
    Keep these one off games in London but no to a franchise.

  20. You need to get a team in LA before you start think about London, which is still a bad idea. Goddell doesn’t realize a once a year oddity does not automatically translate into demand for a team. But the travel issue should not be a factor- its not like these teams are flying coach with the players cramped in a middle seat- they fly on luxury jets with all the amenities of a house. Eight hours on a NFL team plane is like eight hours in your living room, there is zero negative effect of a long flight on a team plane.

  21. I doubt many fans (outside of Hawaii) would have a problem with the pro-bowl bouncing from city to city in Europe year after year, and every 5 yrs play one in Hawaii. The NFL would still be reaching out to a worldwide audience, only they will be doing it with the “popular” players in a game that has no impact on the regular season or playoffs (barring a fluke career impacting injury). The players still get that free vacation to “exotic” locations and no team or fanbase is screwed by playing “home” games thousands of miles away…although this year, having Miami play a home game in London may have been a good idea

  22. Americans . . . so closeminded.
    1) blackouts have nothing to do with international expansion / relocation. Blackouts happen here because teams are in less populated, poorer, non-football areas.
    2) it’d make a lot of sense to relocate a team constantly dealing with blackouts to London.
    The Jaguars deal with blackouts AND that considering they have tarps over parts of their stadium seating. That is sad.
    The london jaguars attendance would HAVE to be better than the jacksonville jaguars
    3) tards are criticizing the NFL’s vision when it comes to popularity, expansion, etc? Shut up. Money, ratings, and a slew of other indicators say you’re wrong, and also that Goodell is making good strides growing the game.
    Overall, a franchise for london would be good for the sport in my opinion. Then the world woud have to start to follow.

  23. The sad truth is that if they want to Expand to Europe they will need a 4 team division out there so it’s somewhat fair for visiting teams (especially from the west coast). Wasn’t NFL Europe pretty popular Germany? Put a team two teams in the UK and two in Germany.
    On the other hand, the logistics of making a new division is pretty complicated. Who would get the the new division the AFC or NFC and a new division would have to be made. With games not selling out in the US that seems pretty unrealistic.

  24. I can’t stand Roger Goodell sometimes. Just stop Roger. STOP. You inherited a product that is far and way the most popular sport in the country. Just sit back, and keep it running smoothly. You are going to ruin the sport. Just ask the NBA or MLB if they regret adding teams? And now you want to add a team in a foreign country? How is that going to work? Dilute the talent pool even more? Plus adding two more games? Goodell just comes off as this intensely greedy man who is trying to squeeze every cent out of the NFL, only problem is he continues to only see one step ahead. To be an effective leader and an effective commissioner (and why I think guys like Selig and Stern are not very good at their jobs), you must see 2, 3, 4, 5 steps down the road. Adding two more games, adding another team, may make you more money – but you are weakening your product. People love football, but if you keep adding teams, the talent is going to suffer. If you keep adding games, injuries are just going to pile up and you will end up with key games being decided by backups. The NFL is a great product – no need for all these drastic moves he is making. See the big picture Roger or else you are going to do more harm than good.

  25. “There is a need for an NFL minor league. There are many test markets that could thrive with a minor league ”
    Yeah there WAS one. Called the World League, then NFL Europe and finally NFL Europa. Crashed and burned 3 years ago. No interest. Water-downed product. Franchises folded left and right after a year or two.
    The NFL is a US-centric game. Keep it here. Another case of just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

  26. There are tax implications, visa implications and too many NFL players have criminal records that don’t allow them entry into the UK. Can you see Vick trying to walk through customs in the UK?
    Maybe Goodell should look at the slumping markets in the US and try to find them a home in LA or Iowa or even Canada first before talking about UK franchise. Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary are big enough markets to carry a NFL team.

  27. I can’t find any way a London NFL team could possibly work. They tried to make NFL Europe work and it simply cost too much. The fanbase simply isn’t there. The only places where they could conceivably add a team are Birmingham, AL (the old Birmingham Vulcans) and maybe Oklahoma City, which seems to be jockeying to become a bigger sports town.
    A London team can’t work (neither can an LA team, Roger).

  28. I think europeans have such a distate for football because basically we’ve given them the crappiest shows so far over there. they had to suffer through NFL Europe. now this horrible matchup of ugly teams. i think if they get a legit franchise over there it could unlock alot more fans. it will never come close to soccer in the least, but it will do better than alot of people think

  29. Why is he so hellbent on shoving this down our throats? He is like Obama shoving his healthcare plan down the American Public’s throat, a majority who didn’t support it. A majority of NFL fans don’t support playing 1 game ayear there, why the hell would we support the idea of a real team there for 8 games a year!!

  30. This should never happen. As a fan from Blighty which devours everything NFL, I can honestly say it would be doomed to failure.
    Other than the logistical nightmare, us British are very tribalistic when it comes to supporting sports teams. We don’t switch allegiances, even if we move locality. Its kind of reciprocated in that teams don’t just up sticks and move like ‘franchises’ in the US do. That whole concept is alien to us. Anyone into football in the UK tends to be pretty into it, its not a casual pasttime. Therefore we’ve all picked a team, and thats our team. Very few would stop following that team to support this new franchise.
    We also don’t travel very well. The sheer size of the US means that away games really are ‘away’ games. For me to get to see a game in London, would be a 3-4hour drive. I’m not going to do that 8 times a year, and especially not if its priced like these current London games.
    Half empty stadiums in Jacksonville or 3/4 empty stadiums in London, which sounds worse?
    If Goodell was serious he’d start up a minor league (send us the UFL…) across Europe and see if that sustains any interest. Problem with that is it would have to be a slow burner for a couple of years. Goodell seems to think that the NFL would be an insta-sellout here.
    99% of the British public could not give two hoots about the NFL. 99% of the US could not give two hoots about Soccer. Lets just leave it at that.

  31. @MikeDaly i agree. As i posted yesterday i see OK and AL as possible NFL venues. I also mentioned Utah. They like football and they have the money to make it work.

  32. Horrible descicion.. All there games will benight games England time, day time U.S. time. No Sunday night game or Monday Night games at Webley stadium. I am sure players would love to play at 2:00am for the U.S. to see in prime time. How does teh bye week factor in for the London team traveling to teh U.S.? When NFL teams travel over there, they get a bye following week. If he is talkign about a team there, is it expansion or moving a team there? So there will be 33 teams? There is no thought in putting a team there.

  33. So you people who are already putting the Jacvksonville Jaguars over there when is the last time this team had a blackout because we didn’t have one this year. All the hatred for our team and city is getting to the point its becoming petty. We haven’t did anything to anyone but you people always picking on our team. So everyone can suck it because we’re not going anywhere.
    By the way Cleric John Preston, stay over there in London and eating scones until you catch diabetes because you’tre a jerk. Also, by you announcing that you’re a raiders fan is pathetic and by the way they’re keep having blackouts in their stadium they might become london’s team because they have 69 blackouts out of 92 games since 1995.

  34. I think the NFL missed the boat on international expansion a long time ago. The demise of NFL Euorpe — which neatly mirrors the decline in television ratings for American football in Europe — is the first supporting piece of evidence. The second point concerns the broader acceptance of American products and the values that they represent. Recall that the NFL first made an appearance in Europe particularly England but elsewhere as well during the 1980s when all things American enjoyed a certain cache. That is not the case anymore. The third point concerns the nature of the sport itself. Europeans generally prefer sports with next-to-interruptions. American football (or throwball) is the very antithesis of this. Its complex rules further complicates its spread. The violence of the sport — highlighted earlier this month thanks to the recent spade of illegal hits — also offends European sensibilities. It certainly offends me. Yes, rugby is violent, the absence of equipment and tackling rules mediate the violence. With all these points in mind, I would argue that soccer has gained far more acceptance in North America on all levels than American football will ever on the other side of pond.

  35. Give a team to every other country and before we know it high school kids will be in the NFL, theses teams now are full of second rate players and it will get worst with more teams, now of course its all about money for the Billion dollar owners and Million dollar players, half would be flipping burgers if they couldn’t play football, soon real fans will get tired of the BS and move on to other sports. Bill p.s. we are tired of seeing million dollars wide receiver lining up off sizes, and guards 3 feet from the ball and jumping off, give us a break.

  36. As an Englishman I have to say it would be nice, but the problem is that whatever team moved over would have to be my second team. There are lots of hardcore fans over here, but they all support different teams and I just don’t see people changing their allegiances, especially when the product is still ultimately American.
    Still, I love it how wound up everyone gets on here. This springs to mind:


  37. Hey Goodell you should netflix baseketball the movie, you will learn about the bad things of the whole expansive schedule and leagues, what it does to the sport.

  38. I can deal with a UK Super bowl. I am never going to get the chance to go anyway. But a UK team will be too much. If Goodell does this I am done with the NFL.
    @ Brian Spears “Baseketball”? LOL
    He is an idiot trying to fix something that ain’t broke.

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