London fans embrace NFL, London media doesn’t

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The NFL sent a pair of 0-3 teams to London this week, but it didn’t seem to matter.

As explained by SportsBusiness Daily, a Saturday block party in London drew more than 500,000 fans.  Via Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Steelers players and owners Dan Rooney and Art Rooney II were “overwhelmed” by the turnout on Regent Street, which was closed for the event.

Via SBD, however, the London media has yet to demonstrate the same zeal.  The Sunday Times didn’t mention the game on the cover of its sports section, and the website of major publications like the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, and the Guardian had no NFL stories on their home pages.

According to PFT’s mole on the scene, the overall reception has been mixed.  Several cab drivers didn’t even know the game was happening, and the pubs continue to focus predominantly on the other kind of football.

“We have a long way to go to catch their hearts” was the message we got from someone attending the game.

The NFL seems to be willing to wait, and to do what it takes to spread the virus of American football to other countries.

46 responses to “London fans embrace NFL, London media doesn’t

  1. I bet a cricket match scheduled in an American stadium could be filled by giving away free tickets, too.

  2. So you’re saying the 500K Americans visiting London or working there as expats at any one time showed up for the rally while the rank and file British could care less? Shocking.

  3. Roger, there is plenty of money to be made here in the states. LA doesn’t have a team and I’m sure you can find 100 other american cities larger than Green Bay that would love to play host to a team.

    Oh, and get rid of the stranglehold you’ve allowed DirecTV to have on the Sunday Ticket. You’ll open up the coffers very quickly if people don’t have to change their cable provider to watch all the games.

  4. And when was the last time soccer was featured prominently on the front page of the sports section of a major U.S. newspaper or it’s website?

    American football will not draw sustained interest in the U.K. just like soccer doesn’t draw the same interest in the U.S.

  5. Actually, the majority of the 80,000+ fans are British and embrace the opportunity to watch a game live!
    They also pay upwards of £120 ($150) for the pleasure to do so
    Don’t criticise something until you have the facts

  6. Do they play college/university Football in London? Maybe start there and let their champ play the BCS champ. Grow the fan base form there. It clearly isn’t NFL time in London. The other thing is maybe NFL should stop trying to put a square peg into a round hole.

  7. I love London because it’s not like the USA. Stop trying to ruin it by forcing our idea of a past time on them! They don’t want it and it’s taking money away from cities here.

  8. You don’t have stockholders to impress. Maintain and improve what you have. An international NFL is a major reach. Why try to push American football on people who think soccer is the greatest thing ever? They couldn’t “get” the NFL if they tried.

  9. The 80,000 tickets sold out in 2 hours. They didn’t go to Americans I’ll bet. Don’t know why some of you are so insulting about this game in London.
    No one said a cricket match would fill a stadium here, so that’s stupid. Bring soccer here, and you know what happens. Just like the recent international in Miami were Sun Life Stadium was full with 80,000 soccer fans.
    I agree with celliottpacker83, don’t criticise when you have no clue.
    Most of you have probably never even been across the pond and seen anything at Wembley. It’s every bit as good as an event here, probably better actually.

  10. The NFL doesn’t have the gumption or vision for creating success through long-term planning, so when a team in London is ready to fall into the NFL’s lap, then they’ll be right there to pounce and scoop it up.

    The plan is to wait for a billionaire to barge into the league office begging to buy in and then they slap Goodell in the face to wake him up and say you’re on and your appointment is waiting in Room 3.

  11. Rugby and cricket are popular games over here in the UK but on a Sunday you have to wade through 20+ pages of soccer nonsense before you find every other sport crammed into about 4 pages. So sadly (and I am an NFL fan) games like this will generally be known about by the die-hard fans – and there are enough of us to sell out these games in 2hrs every year.

    Someone made a comment about perhaps London starting off with a BCS type team and the perhaps progressing to an NFL team. I think we are ready for an NFL team – although that would mean that the winners of the Super Bowl would actually be ‘World Champions’ and not just champions of the teams from USA as they should be called now!! 🙂

  12. Boy, Goodell really knows how to promote worldwide U.S. football. Send them two 0-3 teams to play each other. Now if they had been sent overseas with only one-way tickets he might have been on to something, lol.

  13. AParsons makes the comment ‘Do they play college/university Football in London? Maybe start there and let their champ play the BCS champ. Grow the fan base form there. It clearly isn’t NFL time in London. ‘ I disagree, I think it is NFL time in London. These games sell out in less than 2hrs every year. Of course if there was a team outside of USA then the Super Bowl champs could legitimately be called ‘World Champions’ as opposed to now where they are really just the champions of the teams that play in USA 🙂

    In the UK rugby and cricket are very popular sports played regularly by large numbers of people but each weekend they struggle for coverage in the UK newspapers. On a Sunday during the football (soccer) season you will have to wade through 20 pages of football news (plus a special football magazine with the newspaper) just to get through to the 4 or 5 pages that report on other sports. So that’s just bad journalism and not a reflection of the popularity of NFL in the UK.

  14. The main deterrent to the NFL in London is the time difference not fan interest.

    As far as Soccer in America, google the Seatle Sounders. They average more fans per game than the Yankees…

  15. I’ve been in London all weekend – to the game and block party, the atmosphere was great, the game and the block party had great attendance with the majority from the uk and even Europe. All the fans who go ‘get it’ regardless of wether the press or a few cabbies don’t. Besides, regardless of the press, the game has been mentioned on the biggest radio stations and the television regularly. I’d suggest people who haven’t been here shouldn’t judge as regardless of wether the Americans likes it or not, the game is taking off over here.

  16. Was at the game. Very interesting experience. Seemed like 1/3 of the fans were Steelers fans, 1/3 were Vikings fans (probably as a result of them being the designated home team as every fan was given a Vikings flag to wave, and 1/3 were wearing about every NFL jersey imaginable. It was bizarre. Jerseys you just don’t see outside of some U.S. fan bases. Cardinals, Jaguars, Rams, Titans, and Texans jerseys? I even saw a Tim Couch jersey. Very few Americans attended that game. 90% Brits who seemed to enjoy the experience.

  17. NFL London = U.S. Iraq/Afghanistan

    Some rich guys will make money…but…U.S. citizens/fans will cover the bill.

  18. Yes, but you don’t send two 0-3 teams as representatives. What does Sounder and Yankee attendance have to do with any of this, lol?

  19. If Neville Chamberlain was mayor of London… he’d build free publicly funded stadiums for these American billionaires.

  20. samapoc says:
    I love London because it’s not like the USA. Stop trying to ruin it by forcing our idea of a past time on them! They don’t want it and it’s taking money away from cities here.
    My goodness, but you are a confused puppy! I lived in the UK for several years and no one forces Britain–one of the most imperialistic empires the world has ever known–to do anything. Do you think the Steelers and Vikes stormed Heathrow, then took Wembley by force?

    After the failure of the World League of American Football, I’d think the NFL would know putting a permanent franchise in London is financial folly. And American fans certainly don’t support it. But both the NFL and your precious London are making money on these random games or they wouldn’t be happening. The NFL isn’t stealing money from Britain’s poor cities. Get a grip. 🙄

  21. Did the NFL flip the bill and hand out free crumpits and tea.ALA jacksonville beer give away.

  22. You know what would be awesome? A game of rugby in American Football uniforms by American Football players.
    Do it Roger. Do something revolutionary.

    Or you can just suspend a coach again for a year for a fabricated fantasy.

  23. Why wouldn’t nfl fans enjoy our sport gaining popularity in England and Europe in general? Y’all sound like a bunch of idiots.

  24. Getting a little fed up of hearing people saying that us Brits don’t want the NFL over here. I’ll tell you right now that we DO WANT the NFL over here. I’m not talking about a franchise however I would love to see more games here. The popularity for the sport over here has grown since the NFL started playing games at London. TV viewing figures are high and almost every game sells out within hours. Even the 49ers Jags sold out quickly despite the tickets being sold the same time as the Vikings steelers game which we all knew would be competitive. The 49ers game will be for the first 10 minutes and that’s that. It’ll still not stop me driving 3 hours across the country to London see it! If there’s one thing you should know about us Brits it’s that our transport network is pants, fuel is very expensive, and we all HATE driving to London. Yet we all do all of this because we love the NFL over here. It’s a shame that we do not have another stadium of similar size to show you that demand for the sport is more than just in London. We don’t want to take over your sport, we would just love to be involved.

  25. I’m from the UK and I went with all my friends who travelled 100 + miles to see it. Everyone really enjoyed it. The game was exciting and I thought the NFL did an amazing job organising the event. The atmosphere was fun and people wanted more. Just like the NBA games in London the NFL will always sell out and become more popular. With 25 million people within 150 miles of London there would be support for a UK team – maybe your scared we’d lift the Super Bowl one day 😉 Anyway I’ll be going next year!

  26. So to the Brits who want more NFL games in London, please tell me how many regular season EPL games are played in the States.

    Oh, that’s right, none. Ever.

    I think that an exhibition game or two in London is optimal. If some greedy NFL owner is willing to move a home game to London, I guess that’s between him and his season ticket holders. But I really think a London based NFL team would be an absolute disaster.

  27. And BTW, just saw overnight rating for the game in the UK …

    American Football Live from Wembley (5:30pm – 8:00pm, Channel 4)
    500k / 2.9%

    Actually a bit better than I expected, but a long long way from hosting a permanent team and a Super Bowl.

  28. doctorrustbelt says:
    I bet a cricket match scheduled in an American stadium could be filled by giving away free tickets, too

    Cricket? Highly doubtful.

  29. The biggest hurdle to overcome is the time it takes to play/watch an American Football game. 3.5 hours is painful. The British are used to tuning in for 1.5 hours, they see less scoring, but then again, how much scoring happens in 1.5 hours of NFL play? American Football is probably the greatest niche of football, when you compare it to Australian or Canadian football. But thats just what it is, a niche when it’s compared to the original football and the massive numbers that follow that sport.

  30. Jrdmb: you may have seen the viewing figures for channel 4 however the coverage from that channel is terrible. The premier broadcaster for NFL in the uk is skysports. Yes we are well off Super Bowl candidacy but we aren’t asking for that. We aren’t even asking for a franchise. It’s pointless as we already have our own teams. We just want to carry on watching games over here.

    As for EPL games. There’s a lot of problems with football / soccer and the way it’s run. Personally I would have no problem with sending man united over to play crystal palace or some other lowly rated EPL team. To be fair that’s what’s happening with the NFL but we don’t care as we just want to go to games.

  31. Great Brittan would be an awesome place to have an NFL team and to raise up An interest in American Football.
    1) the British have a great variety of different races.
    2). Once you get the taste of hitting (tackling your opponent) you’ll like it!
    3). You British have the built in toughness to do this.
    (Can’t think of any other country on this planet that can learn this and start producing top quality players within 6-10 years).
    4) like it or not America and Great Brittan go hand in hand in almost everything!
    5) Suit up your young start playing!

  32. Problem is Brits actually thing Cricket is a fun sport, when its really for Sissies. Baseball actually has a point, and requires real skill sets. They love rugby, but can’t handle American football because they’ll get hurt and don’t have the mental capacity to create plays (another way of saying strategy). Rugby is just playing “keep away” going up and down the field which requires no real strategy. Also, American football has helmets because you get hit a lot harder and from all different angles. Without it, people would get paralyzed.

  33. It is sad to see so much ignorance on this page. I am British, i love America, and have a lot of family over there. I love American football, its my favourite sport. Without international series games i would have to pay thousands instead of hundreds of pounds to see a game.

    For you to think we don’t get the sport is just plain ignorant. Were a sporting country, with thousands of years of history, we can understand it. You cant compare rugby to nfl, cricket to baseball etc because they’re different sports, so don’t try.

    You also shouldn’t slate a country you haven’t been to, surely if you love your NFL so much you would want to share it with the world and showcase what you have?!

  34. I am from Houston, Tx, the life blood of American football and a huge international city. Almost every comment on here by an American is disappointing. I think the games in London are awesome and hope they continue even into a franchise over there. To the ‘logistical’ numnuts, look at a freakin map! coast to coast US is about the same time from east coast to London. The leauge has plenty of money and rescources to figure it out.
    LA and Cali in general are a boondoggle of idiots and poorely run governments. It is thier own damn faults there is not a franchise in LA not anybody elses. I hope they move the Jags to London becuase FL is terrible at supporting teams anyways. look at their baseball, basketball and football teams. when they are hot (the Heat) they are all there and when not (jags, Bucs, Rays, Magic, ect) the fans bolt. The Houston Texans have sold out every game since inception and we have sucked pretty hard most of the time. And it wasnt our fault Mr Adams moved the Oilers.

    Anyways, Brits get the NFL and Americans are getting soccer. yeah its got plenty of work to do. But the MLS is growing at breakneck speed. Premier leauge is available on ESPN and NBC sports on regular viewing times and attendance is really high and well supported in cities with teams.
    To all of you with these expert buisness opionons, if Roger Goodell is anything, he is a smart buisness man with hardcore bosses. he is all about making calculated decisions that protect the badge above anything. If and when its time for a team in London i hope they do it. There is no greater sport than American Football and i love to see the world enjoy it.

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