London game may be casualty of labor situation

The NFL wants to return to London in 2011, but a work stoppage — even one that’s settled before the start of the regular season — could prevent that game from happening.

Alex Marvez of reports that NFL V.P. of International Business Chris Parsons says the logistics of putting together a game at Wembley Stadium require the league to know several months in advance that it will actually have a game to play.

“We are going through the preparation right now,” Parsons said. “We are working with the [NFL] scheduler to make sure if we do get the CBA done by a certain time that we will actually be able to execute that game. Normally we announce the game at this time of year, but we’ve chosen not to do that because of the uncertainty.”

The NFL thinks it’s making some headway in the United Kingdom: Games at Wembley have sold out, and the final numbers are expected to show that the U.K. ratings for this year’s Super Bowl will top last year’s, when a record 3.5 million people in the United Kingdom watched the game.

But that momentum may come to a screeching halt if there’s a work stoppage.

21 responses to “London game may be casualty of labor situation

  1. “The NFL wants to return to London in 2011…”


    The players don’t want it… the American fans don’t want it… and hell, I’d even say that the people in London probably don’t care if they get it or not.

    But the NFL is still pushing for it, similar to the 18 game schedule.

  2. Out of the 50 some odd folks (and some are really odd) I know in the UK, not a single one had a bit of interest in the Super Bowl….and one Pub was giving away free beer to come and watch.

  3. I for one hope the London game is a casualty of labor situation —- Keep the games in the USA

  4. I am sure that all of the fans are going to be heart broken, lol. Almost as heartbroken as we will be when the 18 game season doesnt happen, because Goodell keeps telling us how much we want that….

  5. If the NFL really cared about boosting interest in the United Kingdon & Europe.., than they would have the Super Bowl start at 2-ish PM, when the 6-ish hour time difference would allow European fans to watch the game at a reasonable evening hour.

    Super Bowl Kick-off at 6:40PM (12:40-ish AM European time) makes it so only the most avid fans would watch the game live.., most I’m sure watched replay or highlights. The NFL can talk all day about building a fanbase in Europe, but until they take considerable actions.., the American game will continue to be a folly to them.

  6. This game needs to stop out of common sense. It was a stupid idea in the first place. Europe could care less about American football. And the players absolutely hate going over there to play. Worse of all. It is a complete ripoff of the 2 cities stuck playing over there. Taxpayers of both cities/states footed massive bills for stadiums. And the NFL punishes them by rewarding games to Europe, whose citizens footed nothing. A complete sellout of fans and US taxpayers, Mr Goodell. Stop this scam now.

  7. Thanks, MDS. This is proof that every cloud does have a silver lining. Proof positive would be Goodell’s firing and the end, once and for all, of games being played across the pond.

  8. When I lived near Berlin the NFL had a few preseason games at the old Olympic Stadium after the DDR collapsed. The one I remember is when the Bears and William Perry played the 49ers. There was a good crowd that showed, but it was all American GIs, American tourists, and ex Pat Americans living in Germany. I don’t think there was a single German in attendance, other than Katarina Witt, who was there for PR.

    I don’t know who is pushing this stuff to Goodell, but Europeans dislike American football. My guess is that the London games are full of Americans just like the games in Berlin were.

  9. Goodell seems a master at pushing things through with misinformation. He said in October that they could have sold the Wembley game out 5 times over. Strange, two weeks before the game there were still tickets available.

    1.01 million was the overnight figure on the BBC Super Bowl coverage, Sky Sports may have added an extra 100,000. This is up from 900,000 last year. Where has 3.5 million figure from last year come from? Why are you prentending there is more interest over here than there is? The highest rated championship game (Bears/Pack) was, wait for it…… 174,000. Wow. Get a franchise over here now!!

    I also saw Schefter and Mort say that the NFL is looking at East coast training camps for a potential London franchise in 2018. Surely a joke.

    Goodell is fast becoming the worst commish in league history.

  10. Also, a record 3.5 million last year? More rubbish. In the 80’s the Super Bowl was pulling in 6 million.

  11. I can understand not liking having games being played overseas. The feeling is the same over here regarding playing our football games abroad. Just don’t make the mistake of blaming the fans over here for the fact that you don’t like what the NFL is doing.

    The casual dismissal of the fans of the game in Europe is lazy. There are a large number of people who follow the game in Europe, many of them very knowledgable and passionate about the game. Just as there are, much as some over there and here may not want to acknowledge it, many fans of “soccer” over there who know what they’re talking about.

    The reality of the situation is that Wembley is sold out each year unlike a number of NFL home stadia and that while this happens they will keep bringing games over. If that’s the case then the best bet may be to look for a solution which keeps 8 home games for each team but also allows the NFL to take games overseas. That probably means a 17 game season with each team playing one game outside the US, and losing one of the pre-season games. Home fans still get their full 8 home games, the NFL gets extra revenue and the chance to promote the NFL overseas.

    It’s not ideal, I can appreciate some of the frustration, but it’s probably the most likely option. Working towards that type of solution, which is at least something the NFL may consider, is probably more worthwhile than simply slagging off fellow fans who happen to live outside your own country.

  12. Well, I’m from the UK and I’m a huge fan of the sport. I’ve played at a competitive level, alongside players who have played semi professionally in the European leagues.

    I must say that I’m disappointed that there’s a possibility that there won’t be a game in Wembley this season, along with many other thousands of NFL enthusiasts in the UK. Wembley Stadium is a sellout everytime (the lowest crowd for a regular season game was around 82,000).

    I know the first game was a bit of a shambles, but with each year, the game becomes a bit better organised. A lot of the players love coming here, don’t let the one or two that don’t (might I add, usually from the LOSING side) fool you.

    Finally, how about a compromise to the 18 game schedule? 17 game schedules…. 8 home, 8 away and 1 international game. That way, noone gives up a home game, and cities places like Mexico, Asia, Germany, Toronto and the UK can enjoy the sport too!

    Too much like common sense, huh?

  13. Another fan from the UK here. A few points I’d like to make:

    I can understand why so many people don’t like matches being played abroad, but why are there negative, patronising, xenophobic comments about leaving us to ‘sports’ like soccer? Surely having other nations taking on aspects of American culture (not to mention the income from merchandise) is a good thing?

    I think that there is definitely a market for the sport in Europe, if grown over time. The idea to kick the Superbowl off earlier would get more people watching. However, I agree that its unfair on many US fans when teams play games across the pond, so just the occasional game maybe.

    Finally, the idea of a London franchise stinks (travel is surely prohibitive). Only way to have pro teams in EU is to bring back NFL Europe and somehow get it working.

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