Bucs’ return to England not expected to be the first step toward a move


In 2009, Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC reported that the NFL eventually would send the same team to London every year, in the hopes of building a fan base there.  The thinking is that fans become truly rabid about the game when they “fall in love” with a given team.  Then, if the NFL ever decides to move a team to London, the team that has been going there every year becomes the obvious candidate.

In 2011, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Bears in London for the second time in three years.  Thus, some could conclude that the Bucs could be moving closer to a move to London.

For now, that conclusion apparently would be incorrect.  The Bucs, still faced with struggles when it comes to selling tickets to home games, should be thrilled to give up a home game in order to make it easier to sell tickets to the other seven.  Indeed, the last time the Bucs cashed in with a home game in London, the franchise bought the unsold non-premium seats in order to allow all home games to be televised.

Still, if the Bucs continue to go to London on a regular basis, they will eventually establish a fan base in England, of some size.  If the fan base becomes big enough, who knows?

That said, and as Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com recently pointed out, a move by the Bucs would take Tampa out of the Super Bowl rotation.  And after attending a Super Bowl in Tampa, here’s one vote for the Bucs never moving.



31 responses to “Bucs’ return to England not expected to be the first step toward a move

  1. “Still, if the Bucs continue to go to London on a regular basis, they will eventually establish a fan base in England, of some size”

    They have a huge fan contingent in the UK. Go check out BucPower.com and see for yourself.

  2. Sending any team there for one game a year will not build any kind of fan base.

    No one will ever move a franchise from the US to someplace else. That’s just daft.

    Who would put up the hundreds of millions required to build a stadium & facilities in a country where NFL Europe has already tried and failed to make money?

    And even if they did, the first player would immediately sue his team and the NFL under UK labor laws for such practices as the draft, free agency, salary caps, etc etc etc because all that CBA stuff is totally illegal in the UK and the rest of Europe.

    Expecting professional soccer to become a big thing in the US is vastly more realistic than thinking an NFL franchise will be successful in the UK.

    And that ain’t gonna happen either.

  3. The Bucs already have a pretty big (for an NFL team) following in England. One of the biggest and best Buc-fan websites is called Bucpower.com and run by English Bucs fan Paul Stewart. According to him, there is a decent sized following over in the UK.

  4. I really wish people would shut up about the bucs moving. no one wants it to happen and its not going to happen they are the most popular nfl team in fl

  5. Who cares about a London fan base! … Yeah I said it. This is the National Football League. Canada and Mexico are neirbors, so they make way more sense to having a team than flying back and forth to London.

    Tampa Bay to London- 4500 miles
    Tampa Bay to Seattle- 2500 miles

  6. Once again, flo, You are wrong.
    Nothing about the ownerships recent behavior suggest they have any interest in keeping this team where its at.
    They really havent made a real player investment of any signifigance since before the gruden years. When you consider the fact that they havent actually come close to the cap in actual player salaries…….
    Players? PLAYERS?
    And I left out the continuing revolving door in coaches…Not the head coach…but asst. coaches.
    2 coordinators and sooner than later, it will be three when they fire olsen. now 3 ol coaches.
    this is the 2nd, SECOND time in 3 years they are playing this game…..which should in theory only happen about 1 in 16 years…..
    And if you actually watch the games and are not a homer, the bucs were one of the luckiest teams EVER on the face of the earth.

  7. This to me I think is more about the Bucs not wanting Bears fans dominating the stands in a late-season Monday night game at Raymond James stadium (which this game was likely destined before prior to the annoucement of this game being in London.

    I’m pretty sure the Glazers are well aware that Bears fans probably would have made the trip to Tampa in droves and taken over the stadium, essentially turning the game into an extra home game for the Bears, which I’m sure is the last thing the Glazers want.

  8. You do all realize that the Bucs are locked into their stadium lease through 2026, right? Given that the city is paying for it, it’s pretty much impossible fir the team to move. The city would sue their pants off…

  9. Lets keep football in America and not get greedy with our love of football. Football IS Americas past time and the greatest sport ever!!! The europeans dont deserve to have teams in England. Let them watch from over seas..thats fine with me. But the last thing I want to see is my beloved sport trampled or ruined by a “euro” influence…

    In short what I’m saying is this – If they like Football, real FOOTBALL, then good for them. Feel free to follow our sport. But if they aint diggin it now then screw em. The NFL is reason enough to pack up and move to the greatest country in the world. Putting a team in England isnt going to change how they feel about football very much.

    To me a team in England is an act of TREASON!

  10. Does this website know anything? Raiders are basically The UKs home team.
    Has been sice the 70s. Just because theres one guy by the way who created a bucs website does not mean they have a “huge” fan base.
    Raiders are a punk rock team and the UK loves punk rock.
    Thers thousands of bands in the UK that have Raider tats.
    If Raiders played a game in england it would be sold out in seconds

  11. goodell is determined to POUND the square peg into the ROUND hole…how stubborn & blind do you have to be? Even in good times, some NFL teams struggle to sell out home games I.E. tampa, jacksonville, oakland, etc…
    wish this economic downturn would take a few pro sports franchises with it

    NBA = Toronto, Clippers, New Orleans, Memphis
    MLB = Marlins, TB, Oakland
    NFL = Jacksonville,

  12. @southyank7 says:
    Apr 13, 2011 10:23 PM
    NHL = PHX


    Ya might get your wish.

    Apparently once they are eliminated from these playoffs, the move back to Winnipeg will be announced by the NHL.

  13. I’m not sure about establishing a fan base in England for the Bucs. Granted there are Bucs fans in England but if you got every Bucs fan together who follows the games and will to buy a ticket I’d be surprised if they could fill out the lower tier at Wembley.

    The vast majority of English sports fan are very proud to continue to supporting the same team no matter how bad they play and stick with them through thick and thin. Considering nearly all American Football fans in the UK have chosen a team to support and continue to do so, I can’t envisage loads jumping the bandwagon. I mean of course you will sell out against the Pats, Colts, Steelers and Green Bay, but if you have 8 games to go to at home in London and your not a massive fan, who on earth would want to go and see Bucs – Bills.

    I think the only way it would work is if the NFL gave us our own expansion team which none of us would have any problem with adopting to support alongside our team, and new supporters would support outright.

  14. Bucs are having trouble selling tickets. Why is the NFL taking away a high demand opponent instead of a low demand game vs Carolina?

  15. I am an English NFL fan, I’ve followed the ‘Skins for 25-years. I’ve paid for the overpriced NFL gamepass and off-season gamepass. I read about the NFL everyday. I love the game but I would hate to see a franchise move to England.

    First off, it is just plain wrong moving franchises away from fans. It’s the National Football League. It should stay in America. Second, there just isn’t the fanbase here. There are tens of thousands of committed and passionate fans in the UK. Thats is quite a lot for a sport in which many of the games are played in the middle of the night (in our time zone) and which was barely ever seen in our country before the mid-eighties. It is nowhere near enough to sustain a franchise.

    There are already two posts for UK based Bucs fans, but the UK fan base is divided across many franchises. My mood lives and dies by how the Redskins are doing (so much of the last two decades has sucked), I would never switch my allegiance to another franchise even if it parked outside my front door. I am sure many others will feel the same.

    Moreover, most UK fans are the sort of people who love sport, all sorts of sport. Many, when faced with a choice between giving up season tickets to their local team, and following an imported NFL franchise in London are going to stick with what they know.

    The London game sells out fast, because it is still a novelty event. Parents see it as the sort of special one off event that they can take their kids to. Move a franchise to London and you will find that there aren’t that many people willing to pay for a season ticket and the number of business willing to shell out on co-oporate boxes is also going to be correspondingly smaller.

    As recently as 2009, the opening game of the season got just over 10,000 television viewers. OK, it was a late night game on a work night, but after a full off-season with no football, a Steeler’s – Titans game attracted fewer people than Spanish soccer did in a similar time slot. The early, weekend games get more, around 50,000 viewers. Even if everyone who watched the NFL on tv decided to go games in London, it would still be a relatively small crowd.

    The NFL should focus on gradually building the fan base through television and the internet. The majority of football fans in the USA watch on tv rather than at the games. There is no reason to move a team. The NFL just has to make the game easier to see by electronic media. The first place to start would be by making the internet packages much cheaper and much better. The current pricing ensures that no one but committed fans will ever buy them. Casual sports fans and parents are never going to pay the amount of money on the off-chance they might like football.

    The NFL needs to reach out kids and find a new generation of fans. It will only do that if it is both cheap and easy for fans to watch on the tv or over the internet.

  16. Well many UK fans life myself would eventually one day love to have a UK Franchise. I think the American Fans can be very ignorant as to how big a following the NFL has in the UK and in Germany for example.

  17. I’m from England and DON’T want an NFL franchise… leave it where it is. It is selfish to want anything else. It works (or did before the lockout) perfectly as a US only sport and I had no problem enjoying it on TV and enjoying a game when I was over there.

    The game this year:
    – Financially it makes sense. (bigger stadium, more expensive tickets, approx $200)
    – Marketing it makes sense. (TV exposure)

    – Performance it doesn’t, especially against a solid Bears team.

    The love will come given time. Hell, no one in Tampa loved the Bucs this time last year let alone the rest of the US.

    Long-term, I suspect the benefits will actually strengthen the Bucs Franchise (aka ensuring they stay in Tampa).

  18. NATIONAL Football League….
    INTERNATIONAL Football League!!!!

    Roger God-ell is a blow hard!!!

    Can we sign a petition to get Paul T back?!?!?!? Is that anywhere online?!?

  19. there’ll be a rude awakening if they put a team in London, and then realize that the novelty of American Football is only good for one game a year in Britain.

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