Olympic Stadium emerges as possible location for NFL in London

When it comes to doing business, the NFL always loves to have two alternatives.  When it comes to potentially placing a franchise in London, the NFL may have two alternatives.

According to the Telegraph, London Mayor Boris Johnson has had discussions with multiple NFL franchises regarding the possibility of placing a team at Olympic Stadium.

“Given the ever-growing popularity of gridiron this side of the Atlantic the mayor and his team have held a number of meetings with senior executives in the last few days to explore further opportunities for NFL in London,” a Johnson spokesman said.  “The talks were exploratory and we are at an early stage but the signs are encouraging.”

The Patriots and Rams were in London for a game on Sunday at Wembley Stadium, and the Jaguars were promoting their upcoming four-game series.

“Sunday’s game at Wembley, in front of more than 80,000 fans, further cements London’s reputation as the natural home of American football outside of the US,” the mayor’s spokesman said.  “Only last week the mayor, in conjunction with the NFL, announced an expansion from one to two regular-season matches in London from 2013.  That means in total an additional £44 million in revenue for the capital from next year.”

If the NFL ultimately can pit Wembley Stadium against Olympic Stadium when it comes to doing a deal for a team, the NFL will emerge with the best possible terms.

Of course, there’s a chance that each venue could have a team.  Peter King explained on Tuesday’s The Dan Patrick Show that the long-term vision for England entails a pair of franchises.

And that makes sense.  The best way to spread the NFL virus is to create a natural rivalry.  Whether that comes from a cross-town clash of teams that call London home or an England-versus-Ireland scenario, it could be the key to maximizing the NFL’s foray into the land of fish and chips.

57 responses to “Olympic Stadium emerges as possible location for NFL in London

  1. This is a really stupid idea. Yes there was a big crowd but that isnt an every week thing. Worry about the teams you have and stop trying to force something. Goodell is an idiot.

  2. Send New England since Robert Kraft wants a team in London so bad. Nobody outside of Boston, besides bandwagoners like the Patriots anyway. Hell, you won’t even have to change much, all you would have to do is take out the “New” and you have yourself a team!

  3. As a huge NFL fan in England I say let this idiotic idea go, it’s never going to work.
    Fans will go and sell out a stadium once a year for a big event type game like it is now (even that is getting iffy due to the bad matchups/blowouts each year).
    NOBODY is going to pay the ripoff prices we get charged for the game for an entire season and as fans people won’t simply say “Oh there’s a London franchise now, I’ll stop rooting for the Steelers/Raiders/Bears/etc.”
    Things will be even worse whenyou consider it will either be an expansion franchise or one of the worse established teams, meaning many losses.
    Plus a lot of people will be unwilling to travel to the hell hole that is London for a seasons worth of games, once a year is about as much as the immune system can take.

  4. This is an interesting take, Florio. While I still don’t think the NFL needs to expand outside the US, 2 teams would create an instant rivalry. Who is the best on this side of the Atlantic? Hell, I’d be interested in that.

    The problem arises from sending a team across the pond every week, either to or from Europe. The NFL can’t schedule every game after a bye, and I can’t imagine the trip not causing an unfair advantage to the team that didn’t have to travel.

    But, I like the 2 team idea. One AFC and one NFC. Maybe they meet in the Super Bowl one day. Go London Silly Nannies!

  5. I don’t know if Goodell is the only one pushing a possible London franchise, but the league needs to wake up and realize this is a non-starter.

    First, where are the players for a London franchise going to come from? The U.S.! Who wants to sign a contract to play in a location that is at least five hours ahead of your regular schedule, and away from your family? These players’ families will all be living in the U.S. Then you have the additional issue of teams have to fly to London to play this franchise, and dealing with the jet lag, time change, short weeks, potential playoff games et al. It makes ZERO sense.

    We already hear about how hard it is for a east coast team to fly out west and play, or west coast team flying east and playing a 1:00 PM start. If that’s already a problem, why is anyone seriously considering London?

    Then there is the issue of taxation. If you think taxes are high here, who’s going to want to play in a location where taxes are even higher, and socialism even more rampant?

    The logistics to having one or more NFL franchises overseas are a nightmare, and no amount of tinkering on the part of the league office is going to change that.

    NFL Europe died for a reason. Using attendance at one game to justify location of a franchise overseas? Nonsense.

  6. why doesnt mexico city ever get mentioned as an expansion? ???? 30 million people, and a heck of alot closer also heading south in november and december is alot more appealing to most.

  7. Would you please stop with this nonsense? We’ll be driving flying cars before there is an NFL team in Europe. There is absolutely no organic demand for the game there.

  8. NFL needs to adopt a system like pro soccer (football) with a major expansion to 48 teams and 2 divisions. Relegate the losers. Promote the 2nd division winners. Brings accountability to all levels of each organization.

  9. So I hear they wanna dilute the NFL by placing two franchises in England and change the league’s identity from an intrinsically American game that everyone loves to some international wishy-washy league that some people love. Sounds like a plan.

  10. Since I seem to be the only one that gets this, and the NFL doesn’t i’ll make this comparison. I like listening to 80’s hair bands. And when Motley Crue comes to town once every few years i’ll go see them because they put on a good show and usually sell out. But if they came once a week, I wouldn’t see them more than once and the “novelty” would wear off quickly. Same thing with the NFL in London. They get to see a “novelty” game once a year and it sells out. But put a terrible franchise there, which is what it will be regardless of WHO moves there, and the novelty wears off quick. There’s not going to be 80,000 fans there every week to cheer on a Jaguars team to a 4-12 record. Not happening.

  11. NFL teams in Europe is just about as asinine a notion as the 18 game season. How many teams can the league possibly expand to given the talent base of young men who play football and play it well enough to excel at a pro level?

  12. This makes too much sense not to happen. There’s too many teams in small US markets who struggle to sell out every week. London could support two teams very easily. There’s always room for more sports in London.

  13. If you think the NFL has been getting soft lately, wait till the Brits have a team of their own….

  14. So your a 21 year old kid from Texas you get drafted in the 6th round to the London Jaguars with no gaurantees of ever making an NFL team but you have to up and move to Europe? How is this fair to that 21 year old kid in any way? I know they have the choice to not play in the NFL and yada yada yada but come on, one pick different and he could be playing in Cleveland which will look like Miami compared to London. Unless the speed at which we travel increases dramatically then I don’t think this is a good idea at all. Just my two pennies tho.

  15. come on NFL in London? We don’t even have NFL in canada. How do you expect the chargers to go to London for a game or something like that. It’s ridiculous. Terrible idea.

  16. The NFL won’t move a team to Mexico City because the place is dirt poor. I don’t even have a joke here. The average yearly income per capita is $18k in US dollars. Who is going to go out and buy season tickets when you make that kind of money?

    Average yearly income in London? $60k US. That’s some jersey spending money right there.

  17. I hate this idea… until technology allows for a flight to Europe from San Diego to take less than 6 hours… because that is about the max flight time a team can go and be effective on game day.

    Last I saw … Boeing and Airbus aint making anything that flys (in the next 10 years) that can go that fast that far… just saying…

  18. As others have said, the logistics simply don’t work for a regular franchise.

    If you really wan’t to expand the game, do this:

    Compromise against Goodell’s push for 18 and got to a 17 week season (with an additional bye week, and 2 less preason weeks), and have game 17 at a neutral site. From there you can have 2 games in London, 1 in Manchester, 1 in Berlin, Munich, Mexico City, etc., and then maybe a few at places without teams, LA, Vegas, some large college stadiums, etc.

  19. Who cares about London. If you want to take the game internationally look to Canada and Mexico. There is no desire from fans here to have a team there, we still don’t have a team that can bring fans into a LA stadium, yet we want to go to London? Stop trying to make the game an international event!

  20. Don’t know why the NFL keeps trying to create a perception that the NFL is so huge in the UK. They did a recent pole of favorite sports there and Am football ranked 8th behind darts. I could see a ton of empty seats at Sunday’s game. This is why the Euro league failed miserably. If you can’t even sell out a once a year game how do you sell out an entire season.

  21. I sure would hate to be Seattle or San Diego and have to travel to London to play a game. Or, how about being the London team and having to go to San Francisco or Oakland? Terrible logistics problem.

    Also, I agree with 1uniquename: how is a 6th or 7th round rookie, or undrafted free agent rookie for that matter, going to relocate to London with no guarantee of a job? Is the NFL willing to subsidize his travel and living expenses until he signs a contract?

  22. This is actually kind of cute. It’s as if the NFL actually believes this is going to happen; possibly with the aid of fairies. Granted, it’s more cute when it’s a 6-year-old talking about some total impossibility and not supposedly savvy businessmen. But cute nonetheless.

  23. Here’s how it will work: No expansion – you keep the 8 divisions with 4 teams apiece. The 2 teams in London would both be in a remodeled AFC East. That way the London teams will play each other twice a year, eliminating a total of 4 trips across the ocean. The new AFC east would include these 2 London teams, which will be the former Buffalo and Jacksonville franchises, plus New England and New York (Jets). This would also require Miami to be switched to the AFC South division, which makes more geographical sense for the Dolphins anyhow. All other divisions would remain the same. While the trip from Boston/New York isn’t exactly around the corner, it’s not much different than flying out to Seattle. Scenario 2 would be to expand with 4 additional teams – 2 in London, and possibly 2 in LA. This would bring the leaugue total to 36 teams, whereby you would realign back to the old 3 divisions (East, Central, West) per conference, with 6 teams in each divisions. This would also allow for 10 conference games per year, per team. Thus, reducing out of conference international travel even further (i.e. even fewer non-east coast teams would travel across the Atlantic).

  24. Many great points already made, but hitting on one more:

    Sports Illustrated polled NBA players a couple years back and over 80% said they had no interest in ever playing overseas. The majority also said they never wanted to play for Toronto because even that was too foreign for them. No reason to believe NFL players would feel any differently. Given that reality, how would a London team ever manage to be competitive?

  25. The best idea I’ve seen to handle the logistical issues is to

    1) For away games, have the London team come over on a road trip for the 2-4 weeks at a time. They can travel from city to city, practice at a local college, high school, or whatever.

    2) For London games, have the opposition teams come over for one week and then have a bye week either the week before or after.

  26. I would hate to be a Matt Cassell or another QB who sucks playing as a starter in Europe. I can’t imagine who much worst the boos would be.

    The NFL would have to give London a few good draft picks or players to start with. I don’t think a sub .500 team would last very long in Europe when the dominent sport is soccer.

    Overall I’m not sure why the NFL is thinking about adding more teams. It’s not like we have an abundant amount of quality starters just sitting around waiting to play. Just look at the teams we already have that’s always hovering around or below the .500 mark, they’re still looking to “decent” starters at certain positions.

  27. Can someone please tell me why the NFL is going to happen in London before it happens in Toronto / Vancouver / Montreal ???????

  28. Wait until a London team has the first pick and a player pulls an Eli or Elway and refuses to play there.

    And good luck getting a free agent to sign.

  29. I am from Switzerland and actually at the game on Sunday. First off, the game was sold out (84’000 people). However, having a franchise based in London is a different story. I would guess that not even half of the people at the game were from England. Many Football fans from all across Europe come to this game, but that wouldn’t be the case anymore if there are 8 games!

    I like the idea of expanding to europe, but I think it’s still to early. Hell, even LA doesn’t have a team yet… that should be the priority!

    Furthermore, the team playing in London would have significant disadvantages. Not only do they have to travel more and will have to battle a jetlag every other week, I think the team would also be unpopular among free agents.

    Therefore, I doubt that a team in London would either be selling out home games, nor be competitive in the NFL.

    Oh and by the way Mr. Goddell, Football is way more popular in Germany and Austria, might wanna give it a shot there genius!!

  30. Gotta say it, the NFL is a footnote in London, it will be a terrible idea…. FOOTBALL (Soccer, EPL, Champions League) is king over in the UK.

    8 games a year will be poorly attended. Mostly ex-pats, and I can’t see a Londoner going to a NFL game over a Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham, Fulham game… or giving up their bar
    1 or 2 games as a novelty in London each year can succeed but placing a home team there is sure to fail, this weekend the NFL was a side story in UK papers, buried in the sport section… Formula 1 car racing got more press than the NFL.

    The NFL is not exportable, I cant ever see it becoming a global game. Just requires to much infrastructure and equipment. Not like basketball where all the kids need is a ball and hoop to play a decent game and develop. Football requires too much. And forget about the rules, people in the USA don’t even grasp the rules well.

  31. I have family in London and they go to the NFL games in Wembley every year to get their American Football fix and then they’re happy to just watch on TV or internet. Gridiron is an event over there and not a season long interest. Football/soccer is king over there followed by cricket and rugby.

    Goodell is the idiot who thinks football should be an Olympic sport too.

  32. I doubt the NFL has any desire or plans to base a team in London or Europe period. I think they just like the “Big Event” atmosphere it would create a couple of times a year. The thing they do need to address is the loss of revenue for the municipalities whose home game is lost. I know in St. Louis they actually paid the stadium employees as if there were still a game but that does nothing for Hotel, Bar, Restaurant, etc. revenue lost. I guess if the NFL owns the stadium there’s not a lot you can do but I would never agree to a lease that does not demand all home games be played there.

  33. This is idiotic. Can you imagine being a FA and even considering moving to another country to play football? Why not expand to Mexico and put it team in Tijuana or Mexico City first/ I mean, the hispanic population is the faster growing demographic in America right now. Or how about a franchise in Canada? They already have a football league, so obviously they are interested. I would love to see the NFL’s business plan for this move. The numbers have to be inflated or straight up cooked.

  34. Gordon says: Oct 31, 2012 7:50 AM

    I saw highlights of the game and there were a ton of empty seats.

    Of course there were, it was a blowout by half-time. But the game actually sold out. Please don’t voice your opinion if all you saw were highlights.

    Having said that, putting a team in England is a dumb idea. But then again, these guys wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t think it would make them money.

    Maybe next year they should try putting an actual good game in London instead of some juggernaut vs a bottom of the barrel franchise every time. The London games have been some of the worse matchups of the season every year they’ve done it.

  35. Goodell how dumb are you? In England really? You have got to be the dumbest commish ever. Lets see how long that will last idiot

  36. It’s a bad idea, but because of the lack of demand for American football overseas – I travel a lot (and right now I’m an expat overseas), and I have to say that being born and/or raised in the US and immersed in American culture is more often than not a necessary prerequisite to both understanding and liking American football. Canada/ America Jr. being the exception, of course.

    Sure, there are some hardcore foreign fans who understand the game more, and have more passion for it, than most American fans. But they’re few and far in between, and I seriously doubt there are enough of them to sustain a franchise overseas.

    Won’t pan out for the same reason professional soccer didn’t catch on in the US to compete w/ NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL. They have their own sports that they were immersed in since childhood.

    If it was just a question of logistics, though, there are plenty of solutions – for starters, London team *wouldn’t* have to travel every other week 8 times. They can do a batch of 4 to 8 games on the road, with a training base in the US, then chill out at home for the rest of the season.

  37. When football first started it “was never going to work” every expansion team ever created was never going to work. heck every team in l.a. as far as nfl comes, has actually never worked. this london thing can work the key is how long till then. it will take years. when londoners start seeing how much it helps the economy grow. not to mention the relationship of the countries.
    london has the best fanbase in most of the world. when they love something it becomes religeon. the details will be worked out with divisions. the schedule and everything theres ways. these guys would get paid well so they cant complain. id personally love to say a team is the best in the world and actually mean it. lets see what other countries have to offer. eff this only u.s. crap. thats whats wrong with the world in the first place.
    lions fan in dallas tx since 89.

  38. I read every comment here and it appeared that everybody is completely against that idea. Therefore it looks like we’re gonna get ourselves a London NFL franchise!!!

  39. This doesn’t make sense. The west coast has trouble attracting free agents. No free agents would go to London. And players would dread being drafted by teams in London. It would completely fail. No question.

  40. What the heck is the deal with trying to get a team in London. Why not stay out of jolly old England?

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