NFL’s UK spokesman confirms sales for Bears-Bucs are slow

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In 17 days, the Buccaneers will host the Bears at Wembley Stadium in London.  And, like most Bucs home games, plenty of good tickets remain available.

A Q&A posted on the league’s UK website indicates that sales are slow.  Of course, given that the questions and answers are composed in ploddingly polite British prose, it’s not entirely obvious that the tickets aren’t moving.

But that’s the gist of the first question, which complains in quite proper fashion about the decision to provide discounts for tickets that previously had been purchased by a reader at full price, and a rambling response that would prompt even Brett Favre to say, “Man, that guy talks a lot.”

It’s unclear how many tickets remain, but tickets indeed remain.

Perhaps the best selling point would be to focus on the fact that certain aspects of, um, British sports culture won’t be included in the broadcast of the game that finds its way into the telly.

44 responses to “NFL’s UK spokesman confirms sales for Bears-Bucs are slow

  1. Did anyone else click on the link and try reading through all that stuff? It felt like trying to walk through knee high mud while wearing snowshoes…


    Good Lord, the British are long winded. And this coming from a guy that lived in the U.K. for over a year.


    We can’t sell enough tickets to not black out games in certain areas, but heck, we’ll move games over seas for people who don’t give a damn about to watch!!

  3. One difference in the game as it is played in England that strikes you immediately, is that the referee and linesmen are not paid for their work. Or supplied with uniforms.

  4. Its Tampa and Chicago… That game has 13-10 written all over it… Just keep hitting the snooze button.

    I do agree though that we should just give up on this London thing every year… Maybe once every 2 years is possible but I would just like to keep it within the confines of America where it belongs!

  5. I am a UK fan but I think a game in London every year is a bad idea, more than one would be stupid. If the NFL insist on playing a game in Europe then they should vary the countries that they play in, so they can keep interest levels up.

  6. Can not wait until Goodell gets a new or relocated team in London and then learn the obvious lesson, that most everyone already knows, that London will not support a team.

    It is a gimmick for the English. It is already wearing off. The business partners are not enough to fill a stadium on a regular basis.

    The really sad thing is that Goodell is such a fool that he does not realize that is best shot at this is in another country. Of course the owners got tired of supporting those teams.

  7. I’ve been to every game over here and have tickets to this one.

    I’m not really sure why the tickets aren’t moving, last year they sold out almost immediately. Tampa/Chicago aren’t as appealing as say the Chargers or the Pats were, and the Giants/Phins game was sold out only because it was the first one (the game itself was awful)

    The lack of sales is not down to poor marketing at all – adverts all over the London papers + the plugs from the British TV pundits are almost every half an hour during the games.

    Hopefully they can shift some more tickets before the 23rd

  8. In the photo, an English footballer demonstrates to his American counterpart the uniquely British running style and body type.

  9. @ bronco Billy

    Typical American ignorance. Check out nfluk a whole site dedicated to British NFL fans who are just as knowledgeable as American fans.

  10. The NFL was dumb to decide to play a game on the same day as the Rugby World Cup final. England could very well be playing. Even the though the match will be aired at something like 9am local time, the attention will be elsewhere.

  11. If it’s not a sellout, will they blackout the game in the UK? I doubt it; and they will say it’s because they want to promote the game to a wider audience in order to gain support for future games–exactly the opposite position for poor selling games in the U.S. that get blacked out.

  12. It sounds like the novelty is wearing off in the UK. The Brits have their sports: Soccer, cricket, and rugby, which they support with great passion. The close ties to the US, plus the great attention paid to American football made this game attractive to them. Now that they’ve had several opportunities to watch the games, unfortunately with some terrible teams, they are going back to “their” sports. Nothing wrong with that. We all have different passions.

  13. I say it has nothing to do with fan interests and everything to do with a global downturn in the economy. People don’t have the money to spend on this stuff. Sure a World Cup would do better but the NFL isn’t going to pry the Pounds out of some poor guy who can barely pay his dental bill. (said in jest but probably true)

  14. I am English, I’ve been a fan of the Redskins for 26-years. I love football and the NFL. I am not alone, there a number of very committed football fans in the UK. Unfortunately that number is in the 10s of thousands.

    Sure the stadium has sold out for previous games but as an event, a family day out, as someone else put it, as a gimmick. There just aren’t enough fans here to support two games let alone an entire franchise.

    More importantly, shipping games over here is a terrible way of expanding the fan base. The NFL was more popular over here in late 80’s and early 90’s. The NFL completely pooched themselves by selling out to Sky and knackering the terrestrial coverage.

    If the NFL wants to expand their markets they need to start getting a lot more coverage on free to air tv at prime viewing times. They also need to start selling internet packages at the sort prices that would appeal to people who aren’t already rabid fans.

    The NFL would be better off paying the BBC to show extended highlight packages in prime time, rather than selling Channel 4 the rights to broadcast Sunday night football between 1am and 4:30am on Monday morning.

    The Wembley games are just pandering to the converted. Worse still, they’re doing it at the expense of the home town fans of the two teams they send over. I don’t blame American fans for being outraged. If our Premier League ever sends matches abroad we’d be going absolutely nuts.

  15. I grew up in Philly, but retired out of the Air Force and have lived in London since 1994. The close-mindedness of some of you is amazing. No wonder the foreign picture of Americans is one of isolationism.

    The British are very knowledgeable about the game. They have their own leagues here. About three weeks ago, they had their championship game. Some Americans, like Super Bowl-winning coach Sean Payton, played here.

    It’s not just British people that have helped sell Wembley out for these games. It’s fans that come over from the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain. And the British do an outstanding job og covering the NFL–we get a Sunday doubleheader on Sky Sports–which is a sateelite sports channel–the Sunday night game is broadcast on Channel 4 which is a public channel; the Monday night game is broadcast on ESPN here; the playoffs are all on Sky, but they have a highlights package on Channel 4. On Sunday nights at 9, they bring you a 4pm game in the States that’s not broadcast on Sky. We have gamepass here for anyone that wants to purchase it.

    There are probably two reasons why this game has not sold out as previous games have–

    1. Uncertainity over the lockout
    2. The teams competing–this is the 2nd year in 3 that the Bucs are going to be here.

    If the NFL wants to have these games in London, they should add a 17th game to the schedule and have that as a netural ground game–that way, you may get more interesting teams like the Cowboys, Eagles, Pats, Saints, etc. Not one of these teams’ fans wants to give up a home game.

  16. I myself am travelling from Ireland to the UK to watch this game, as i have for the previous London games.
    There is huge interest in NFL across Europe, that isn’t the problem.
    People are broke. It’s expensive to get to London, tickets for the game are expensive, it expensive to stay in London.
    But i’ve been saving since last years game to make sure i’m at this one.
    But i’m lucky, i have a job at the moment…. Unlike 15% of people in Ireland.
    This game is a big deal for me, but if games in Europe are to continue, the location needs to vary year to year, to access other markets, and ticket prices could do with being revised, we’re ALL in a recession here.

  17. They need to send the Raiders/Chiefs game over there.

    The Chiefs fans will teach the English how to BBQ (and that’s a lesson they desperately need in the UK).

    The Raiders fans will teach them that sissy soccer hooligans get devoured raw.

  18. Two games in London seems like it would overstretch the foreign fanbase. I assume a bunch of fans are coming from Germany. Spent a semester abroad there and my assigned student buddy was a huge cowboys fan. Might be hard for folks to pay to go to two games.

  19. weneedlinemen42 says:
    “The NFL completely pooched themselves by selling out to Sky and knackering the terrestrial coverage.”


    Ah, Great Britain and the United States. Two great nations separated by a common language.

  20. People in the UK aren’t going to support the Glazers in any way, shape, or form. They are still pissed off about Manchester United.

  21. As a Bears fan living in Tampa, This really sucks, I have waited since 2005 to see them again, and the NFL sends them to England! This whole international thing is just plain stupid!

  22. As a Bucs fan and this being a “home” game, do I get to look forward to a blackout?

    My two favorite teams and I cant go to the game. Goodell sucks.

  23. I am a lifelong NFL fan from England followed the game for 25 years been over to 40 games
    including two Superbowls (XLII and XLV)
    huge Packers fan and I can tell you what the issues are with the game this year and things that are non factors:

    1. Short notice for the game.
    Most fans do not live in London and need hotels and travel sorted months in advance and some will have decided to pass on the game this season.

    2. Money
    Hotel, Travel, Tickets can set you back about £500 in the current recession some people cannot justify the expense.

    3. Rugby World Cup Final is on the same day and England could be in it. (should be)

    Non Factors
    1. Glazers. People would go to boo the Bucs to spite them rather than snub the event

    2. Lack of Interest.
    Interest was high when ticket registration started but again the Lockout changed peoples plans.

    The game should have reverted to Tampa and the NFL should have given London a one year break

    I can understand why US fans hate the idea of games over here.
    I dont agree with it, but I am going to the game and been to all the others.

    The National Football League belongs in the United States of America. The Commissioner is just trying to get cash over here and when interest wanes he will cancel the experiment.

    Talk of a franchise is a joke and you Americans should ignore it, we Brits know it could never work due to logistics so dont worry about it.

  24. What upsets me about the whole thing is this: Living in Germany and having worked for the NFLE I hear a lot about how the NFL wants to “grow the game” and the London games are a way to do that.

    The Problem is that the phrase “grow the game” actually means “make more profit”. If Goodell and the owners were interested in the game as much as the money, then they would invest in the league systems in place in countries like England and Germany, where the following is in the “10s of thousands” to quote an accurate representation.

    When you are trying to grow something you start by making sure the soil is fertile.

  25. granadafan says:

    It sounds like the novelty is wearing off in the UK.
    No, it doesn’t. If you read the entire Q&A, it sounds like they usually have a year to promote the London game and at least six to eight months to sell tickets, with buyers coming from throughout the British Isles. This time they were given less than two months to promote the game and sell the tickets. And those tickets aren’t cheap.

    It’s not really a novelty anymore. They first began televising American football in the UK in the early 1980s. After more than 30 years, the NFL has some serious fans across the pond. But could the league sustain a franchise there? NO.

    It’s not logistically feasible for an NFL franchise to play in the UK. The players would have to come from the U.S., and we can’t come up with enough real talent to adequately man the 32 teams we have here. Sunday, Monday, and Thursday night games would air in the middle of the night there. Scheduling–especially during playoffs–would be a nightmare. Unfortunately, the commissioner ignores those realities the way he ignores the financial debacle that was the World League of American Football. So we’ll continue to humor him.

    I’ll say one thing for UK fans, though. At least their “commissioner” is willing to thoroughly and honestly answer their questions.

  26. purpleguy says:
    Oct 6, 2011 4:23 PM
    Geez, the Bucs can’t even sell out a game in England either.

    Someone’s a little upset over week 2… it’s okay.

  27. hey guys,

    alot of the reason why some countries have “their” sports/hobbies is based on the time zones and what is shown when. in africa and asia the Premier League and F1 airs at a good time so its huge. same goes for IPL in UK. and of course the NFL in europe and UK/Ireland. its airs at a great time. so when people say Americans dont like Soccer, F1, Rugby, Cricket etc the reason is that as children they never had the chance to watch it an enjoyable hour.

    I cant understand why american sports fans would have a problem with NFL playing ONE game outside of North America. especially when winning the Superbowl makes them “World Champs”. i cant stand Rugby which is the origins of American Football which i love watching and i would love for it to be a world wide american export like basketball and baseball in japan etc.

    the thing about the Bucs/Bears game is that it costs SOOOO much money to travel to london and stay one night. travelling from dublin its minimum €400 food included.

    i think the NFL should play games in different countries in europe and charge half what they are charging now. the only people who would pay £100 for a ticket are people who ALREADY like the NFL. how is the growing the popularity.

    anyway just to finish up ill say that enjoying sports and movies etc from other countries is something everyone in the world likes except North Americans it would seem which i find so strange for nations such as canada and usa, which are almost entirely made up of people from elsewhere around the world.

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