Arthur Blank sees “maybe more than one” NFL team in London


Falcons owner Arthur Blank agreed to give up one of his team’s home games this season to play in London instead. Soon, Blank believes some team will play all eight of its home games in London.

Blank told Peter King of that the fans in London are continually supporting American football, and they’ll support a team of their own.

“The games in London, I think are a tribute to the NFL, a tribute to the fans there, the quality of the game—and I think that it’s proved conclusive that fans will come out when they see the real players playing games that are really meaningful, as opposed to NFL Europe,” Blank said. “So I think—and all three of the games for 2014 sold out immediately, 240,000 tickets—the league, as you know, has been in discussion about a fourth game, in discussion about games beyond that. There’s been discussion about potentially having a franchise in London. I’m very optimistic.”

In fact, Blank even thinks there might be two NFL teams in London.

“I think it will start with an increased number of games. That will be translated into a very successful series of games, and eventually, I think a franchise. And maybe more than one. London’s a big city,” Blank said.

Blank also suggested that London might not be the only overseas city to have an NFL team.

“The approach that the international committee and the commissioner have taken is, ‘Let’s do London right, and then move from there to potentially somewhere else.’ I’m sure there are wonderful cities in Europe, and elsewhere,” Blank said.

Perhaps one day the NFL will have a full four-team European division. Most American fans wouldn’t like it, but the NFL’s owners love the idea of tapping into the European market.

89 responses to “Arthur Blank sees “maybe more than one” NFL team in London

  1. It is a terrible idea.
    Start another NFL Europe if ya want, but the travel problems and scheduling issues would only hurt the NFL in the long run.

  2. No way will there be two NFL teams. One perhaps but no way two.

    Problem is will these fans turn in week in week out when the teams having a 4-12 style season ? London Monarchs go 9-1, 50,000 fans at Wembley, they go 3-6-1 and theres 15-20,000 fans.

    Of course NFL/NFL Europe are different but you see it in the US with ‘some’ teams, the second the teams losing fans stay away. If that happens in London it’ll be a major issue.

    I love the NFL and i live in England but i must admit i’m quite happy with all the teams staying in the US. Perhaps the odd game for fans but i love the history of the NFL and it would be a shame if a team moved over here.

  3. No to a team in London. No to a team in Toronto. Keep the league the way it is.

  4. And after the team goes 4-12 2 or 3 years in a row how many fans show up?

    Every day Cuban looks like he was right on the mark with his comments. Greedy NFL owners that are intent on killing the golem goose.

    There will be a day when those ratings drop and the avg fan tunes out because they have had enough and you will have ticked off the hard core fans too much. Ask NASCAR it happened to them recently.

  5. The players don’t want this. The fans don’t want this. How much money is enough to these billionaires? Why aren’t the voices of the NFL’s employees and customers being listened to? So sick of this BS.

  6. “Most American fans wouldn’t like it, but the NFL’s owners love the idea ”

    Says it all right there. American fans and the NFL are like blacks and Democrats. Doesn’t matter how much you abuse them, they’ll keep coming back.

  7. Its a circus for the NFL just trying to put a team in LA and now this guy says 2 teams in London..I get the feeling hes trying to keep the subject off his team on why no super bowl wins and how there window is all but slammed shut ..

  8. Umm, the CFL is right there. Just try to merge with that. Already brings its history and established fan bases. Plus it’s still North America. Toronto has a massive population and would love an NFL franchise. Start there.

  9. They will not support an NFL team for a full season. It’s a one time a year thing. The other 7 weeks, the people from London will be watching Chelsea. They will rely on the Americans stationed overseas to buy those tickets, and even then, will only be bought by fans of the opposing team. Keep trying to mess with the Premier League. It won’t end well.

  10. The NFL’s ownership has grown arrogant. It believes that it can do no wrong. The owners and Goodell are blinded by shadows of dollar signs. The NFL Europe failed (RIP 1991-2007). When regular games go over to Europe now they are barely covered by the local newspaper/media. (It does take place during Soccer season over there.) NFL players do not want to play there. According to a 2013 article a number of players have stated they would refuse to play for a European Team. Trying a expansion into Canada makes more sense than London. …But they will do it anyway. Doesn’t Goodell have enough on his plate without trying to shove this down our throats.

  11. If they do, I’ll quit watching. They’re already on thin ice with the ridiculous way they conduct replay and the new “player safety” rules.

  12. Phase one of Goddell’s global vision. He is seriously wanting to take the NFL worldwide and sees the NFL as a viable challenger to “world football”, the world’s most popular sport – soccer to us.

    It’s ambitious and may never take hold, but with all the money the NFL has amassed, they will have no problem marketing. First London, then Frankfurt, Paris, etc. In 10 years 2/3 cities will have teams.

    “I like them French fried potaters.”

  13. I miss the NFL I grew up watching and am very concerned about where this league is heading. Too many safety rules, watered down playoffs on the way, having teams in England, etc.

  14. They just can’t leave well enough alone, can they? I hate to admit it, but Mark Cuban is looking pretty prophetic right now. The NFL as it’s structured now is a PROVEN commodity, I don’t know why they’d want to screw with that except for unbridled naked greed. So are we to assume that Goodell and the owners are bent on world domination? They should learn from the past, when you push too far and overextend, you lose your base and everything collapses, but they don’t care, they just see $$$. It’s amazing how men who have more money than any of us could dream of are just never satisfied.

  15. I’m sorry, but an NFL franchise in London is a bad idea whose time has come and gone.

    Think for a few minutes about what would be involved here. First, where is this franchise going to get its players? Not from Europe, that’s for sure. So in other words, the London team is going to ask its players to play its home games anywhere from five to eight time zones away from their homes. What players are going to want to play for this team? Where will this team practice and hold training camp? Where will this team practice during the week, especially for its road games?

    It’s one thing to play a couple of game in year in London (at a poorly lit stadium built for soccer instead of football). It’s another thing entirely for the NFL to plant a franchise there.

    It’s not going to work. Wake up and realize that NFL football is an American sport that has not and will not catch on overseas.

  16. A full 4 team division would make things a bit easier schedule wise. The visiting US based team could then play 3-4 road games, then head back and use the bye week for additional time to recover from jet lag.

    The Europe based teams can have 2 stints of 3 games against each other, stay home for 2 stints of 3-4 games against the US based away teams and in between either one or two trips to the USA.

    That would minimize travel.

  17. NBA players can’t get out of Canada fast enough, and these yahoos think NFL players will want to live and play in Europe? They may as well award London a franchise and fold it on the same day.

  18. I guess UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) should be looking into expanding into the U.S.

  19. Why are owners doing this? Kraft, Jones, Ross and now Blank. If they aren’t planning to move their teams, then no need to talk about it. I agree with Mark Cuban…the NFL is taking a popular product, and slowly destroying it…one team to London would be too much.

  20. While I’m not a big supporter of American football in Europe. I do think that these American cities who serially cannot hold onto their own franchises do not deserve multiple teams. St. Louis, Baltimore, Cleveland, LA, Houston. I think if your franchise leaves you shouldn’t get another. Cleveland for instance has gotten 3 franchises. The others have had 2. Plenty of other cities in America that could handle it.

  21. One team in Europe would be possible without it being too much of a disruption. The “London” team could have all of its operations in, say, Richmond or Hartford — the players all live there (so no UK taxes), practise there, and then fly to London for their home games like everyone else. But adding more teams make that kind of arrangement logistically impractical.

    All that is beside the fact that the whole idea is STUPID!!!!

  22. NFL expansion is inevitable. After seeing the lowly LA Clippers sell for a $2 billion to be part of a less-than-major league, don’t be surprised to see NFL expansion teams going for much more. London, LA, San Antonio, Toronto.

    It could be a two-phased expansion, preceded by a round of relocations which would allow current robber barons the first crack at London and LA. That is exactly what happened in the NFL’s last round of expansion, adding expansion teams to Cleveland and Houston after each city lost franchises to greener pastures of Baltimore and Nashville.

    Don’t be shocked to see the 4 team expansion & relocations hypothesized in the article above. European population (mostly TV watchers) are double the US. Don’t believe everything you read in the papers about Europeans disdain Americans and are so obsessed with soccer that NFL football won’t succeed. Blank and his 31 cronies became billionaires by making smart business moves.

  23. For these billionaires it’s about power. They already have the money. In their minds they think they’re “conquering Europe” and expanding their empire.

  24. Perhaps the best example yet of how the arrogant billionaires running the NFL don’t give a hoot about the average NFL fan. If the NFL wants to expand, there are plenty of U.S. cities that would gladly accept a team. They tried the NFL in Europe before, with little success. Having a team travel nearly a full day to get to a game is a terrible disadvantage for the visiting players.
    Yes, Mark Cuban is right, and these clowns are going to screw around with the Golden Goose until they kill it.

  25. This is the National Football League not the International Football League. Talking about bringing teams to London when they don’t have one in LA???????

  26. What I find amazing is when the league Looked at putting a team in Hawaii they decided the jet lag would be too much for the traveling team. Now lets say Seattle fly’s to Miami week 1 then Home Week 2 then London week 3 and in week 4 they are at the 49ers, How will that work out for travel fatigue?
    Think it through guys……

  27. Hey football experts,you want to know why NFL teams relocate? Owner greed. The moves had nothing to do with locale,those teams were well supported as demonstrated by the continued support the new teams have. The same greed that drives this fantasy of a London team. The good folks of London won’t fund an American football stadium so sharing revenue with the football club there won’t generate the cash wanted. The NFL won’t admit defeat and will force feed the franchise there until they can find a “legit” reason to move the team out of there.

  28. All the NIMBY owners.

    Stephen Ross, Jerry Jones, Arthur Blank.

    They want a team (or TWO!!!) in London and Los Angeles…just not theirs.

  29. if the nfl expanded with three british teams and a fourth team in LA, they would have a total of 36 teams. they could realign 36 teams into 12 three team divisions and two 6 division conferences. creating maximum geographical proximity for division rivals (sorry cowboys) would minimize travel dates overseas for US clubs. actually, i hate the idea of expanding to the UK, but i’m just saying, the math is interesting.

  30. Lol, I hope the NFL blows up in flames.

    Mark Cuban is soooooo spot-on, it’s sick.

  31. “Hey, if we kill this golden goose… think of the money we’ll make!” – typical NFL team owner.

    Just stop, with this silliness. It’s a bad idea.

  32. How can they put a team in London before L.A.??? Makes no sense, plus they couldn’t call the league the ‘National’ Football League anymore if there was a team based in London. Every player would opt-out the moment their contract was up and the team would be hard-pressed to attract free agents.

  33. The NFL has been there, done that, and the soccer loving Europeans didn’t buy it. More of Goodell trying to grow the NFL by any means possible.

    Reminds me of the way NASCAR tried to go global and started losing their fan base.

  34. I doubt there will be a team in London unless they bring the Concorde back. However, I could see the NFL expanding the regular season by 1 game and creating an international game for each team that would be played from late September to early November with a bye the following week. 6 games in London, 2 in Mexico, 1 in Toronto (Bills, because no one wants to see the Bills outside of North America), 2 in Germany, 1 in Japan/China, 2 in Australia (I’ve been there, there’s quite a few folks who watch the NFL, and quite a few more who bet on the games) and 2 games elsewhere in Europe/Asia.

  35. I think I’m beginning to understand why the NFL is so bent or getting a team in London.
    If they move a team or create a team in London, they can move the corporate offices over there and avoid billions in American corporate taxes.
    If you don’t think this is possible, you haven’t done your homework.

  36. The league will eventually go to expanded playoffs, 18 game regular season, a team in london and 2 bye weeks…guaranteed. all things the fans are universally opposed to. All we’ll get is a reduced preseason. Jerry jones epitomizes the nfl n gooddell when he acknowledged his team isnt good but they are popular so hes happy. All about money

  37. Any team, anywhere, can pack a stadium if local businesses are buying the tickets and giving them away for free.

    So yeah, Wembley is packed for the games but would they support 8 games a year @$150 a ticket, $5 for a hot dog and $10 for a pint?

  38. The only way NFL in London will work is if they put a 4-team division over there. Otherwise you have a team flying across the Atlantic every week, and the London team has to do it 10 times every season.

  39. There is a reason they spell it futbol. NFL Europe really went well. It is a nice little novelty (for everyone aside from the players) to play 1 game a year over there, but if you bring an actual team there it won’t work. Soccer was, is, and always will be their game of choice, so the money grab the NFL imagines this being isn’t going to be there.

    @thetooloftools-It’s an interesting theory, but there would be no way the US Government would allow it. The US Gov’t essentially ignores antitrust laws to let football (and all major sports) to operate the way it does, because of amount of money it generates. They aren’t just going to allow those dollars to walk across the pond.

  40. Expanding the NFL into another country (instead of making an entirely separate league) is tricky, it’s not like a corporation that can just open a separate subsidiary incorporated under British laws. Many of its advantages (antitrust exemption) and structures (CBA/contracts) are premised on U.S. law. This could blow up for reasons completely unrelated to the fact that fans showing up for the rare spectacle of a London game are very different from those ignoring a terrible London team 8 games a year.

  41. A complete disrespect to his existing season ticket holders and general fan base by shipping a home game over there……then rub some salt in the wound by stating that 2 teams belong there, when you own home city can barely support your own team. Would be enough to get me to consider funneling season ticket cash into his pocket!

  42. Oh, let’s just solve all the issues here.

    AFC East – London, Manchester, NY Jets, New England
    AFC Central – Buffalo, Toronto, Montreal, Indianapolis
    AFC North – Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore
    AFC South – Miami, Jacksonville, Houston, Tennessee
    AFC West – Kansas City, Oakland, San Diego, Denver
    NFC East – Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington, NY Giants
    NFC Central – Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota
    NFC North – St. Louis, Seattle, Edmonton, Vancouver
    NFC South – Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans, Tampa Bay
    NFC West – San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Arizona

    There is your complete NFL.

  43. ““Most American fans wouldn’t like it, but the NFL’s owners love the idea ”

    Says it all right there. American fans and the NFL are like blacks and Democrats. Doesn’t matter how much you abuse them, they’ll keep coming back.”

    Congrats, you win the stupidest post of all time award. You do know that almost all NFL owners (with a few exceptions) are big time Republicans.


  44. You first, Arthur. It wasn’t well enough that you threatened/ extorted/ bribed the politicians to force the poor taxpayers of Atlanta to build and rebuild and rebuild your lavish stadium. Let’s move YOUR team to London, Arthur.

  45. If I’m a player, no way am I moving my family to live in Europe under their laws and their taxes. Teams would have to pay more to get players to go and that would cause cap issues unless they get a different cap number, which wouldn’t be fare.

  46. So you going to tear down Westminster Abbey to build the new London Stadium, Art? The typo above actually makes a lot of sense, “Golem Goose” instead of Golden Goose”

  47. I’d rather have an 18 game season AND expanded playoffs than a team (or two) in London and I’m not in favor of those things.

    The league is symmetrically near perfect as it stands, quit screwing with it.

  48. granadafan says:
    Jun 2, 2014 12:10 PM
    You first, Arthur. It wasn’t well enough that you threatened/ extorted/ bribed the politicians to force the poor taxpayers of Atlanta to build and rebuild and rebuild your lavish stadium. Let’s move YOUR team to London, Arthur.

    That is completely false, he’s spending $700 Million, the lions share of the stadium, the city is paying for the roof and infrastructure. had the city declined he’d have spend $700 Million on a stadium in the suburbs and would have had local governments falling over themselves to pay for the infrastructure to support it.

    Get your facts straight and don’t be so emotional.

  49. “The London Silly Nannys” vs “The Paris Baguettes” has a nice ring to it…. So tired of hearing about all of the potential changes to the game we know and love

  50. So the NFL wants to go international on a full-time permanent basis. No problem for the players that have to travel outside to Europe to play a game right? Doesn’t this all have to be collectively bargained or is this another thing the NFLPA dropped the ball on?

    No matter how you slice it–the owners love Goodell b/c he’s an absolute pig.

  51. ‘Perhaps one day the NFL will have a full four-team European division. Most American fans wouldn’t like it, but the NFL’s owners love the idea of tapping into the European market.’

    If that means eventually expansion then the league will have more games that are unwatchable like the sloppy play that occurs in the first two games of every season & pretty much every Thursday night games.

    I have to believe at some point even the biggest NFL fan will become disgusted with the inferior product on Sundays.

  52. BTW–How dumb are the Cowboy fans who continue to buy season tickets to watch a team that is guaranteed to suck??? Your owner is the modern day P.T. Barnum & continues to get richer by the day b/c of your stupidity.

    The reason Jerry Jones won’t hire a real GM that knows how to draft players is b/c he doesn’t have to. Clearly Jones knows his fanatical base of Cowboy supporters will continue to pay money to come to his gigantic tent & watch his circus.

    And yes you’re starting QB who is 34 years old is a major choker & doesn’t have what it takes to win a big game.

  53. I see very, very few American-born Football players wanting to relocate themselves and their families to Europe for a living.

  54. ‘That is completely false, he’s spending $700 Million, the lions share of the stadium, the city is paying for the roof and infrastructure. had the city declined he’d have spend $700 Million on a stadium in the suburbs and would have had local governments falling over themselves to pay for the infrastructure to support it.

    Get your facts straight and don’t be so emotional.’

    Freeway Jim,

    Regardless of your new stadium the Falcons window has closed. You’ll be looking for a new HC after this season.

  55. What Blank fails to understand is that the London games are so well attended because they aren’t a weekly occurrence. Its a novelty, for want of a better word. If this goes ahead at some point I would think it would have serious financial repercussions for the owners, and especially the owner(s) of the franchise(s) that moves because the attendances won[t stay as high.

    Goodell should stop with the whole ‘global domination’ mindset. If you keep adding and adding you will dilute your product and therefore make it weaker.

  56. I can’t wait for the NFL to lose its shirt on putting a team abroad. The few games that are played there now are still a novelty which these people plan and put money aside for. I can’t imagine a permanent team being able to successfully compete for British dollars (or pounds if you will) over their version of football, Formula One, rugby et al. Londoners are just like most of the rest of the world that is, they too have limited resources they can spend on entertainment and I don’t think a niche sport to them like the NFL is going to win out enough over the sports that are and have been ingrained in their conscience.

  57. I’d like to see a team like Buffalo, Oakland, or Jacksonville build a split home base. If I was one of these owners, I would do it. Play 4 home games in London and 4 in the US city. Play back to back home games twice a year and give them a bye after one of the sets of home games.

    That would allow 1 team to essentially become England’s team and possibly Europe’s team. That team would be the brand of the entire continent and could generate so much coin. Plus, it would make the 4 home games much more desirable in their home town in the US

    Imagine being the 1 American Football team with brand recognition across an entire continent.

  58. If we’re talking 2 expansion teams in London, I think it’s a bad idea. If it’s to uproot 2 current teams from their current cities, I think it’s an absolutely horrendous idea for the league, and for many would be a step down the very wrong road that could ultimately lead to the demise of the NFL.

  59. I’m in no favor of expansion period, let alone Europe. It seems all the US professional sports leagues have made the mistake of over expansion. Look at the current instability with 4-5 teams that are rumored to move to LA, London, or Portland. The NFL better address these cases before making a huge move to another market. The league maybe trading one problem for another if a team is moved from JAX to London. Who’s to say that London will be a successful site over the long term?

  60. If anything is to happen the NFL should look into the Canadian Football League for a merger into the NFL. After that go for teams in Europe. Great Britain, Germany, Japan, and maybe 4 more teams. Just don’t do anything until Canada has been approached about joining. It would be less pressure on the NFL to have a larger base in place to start the European teams. Also the NFL should look at. Colleges outside the North american area. Check what help is needed for the European schools to focus on American style football. Need some sort of football base in Europe.

  61. Those games in London only filled up because the NFL gave away tickets. Also, the games received almost zero media attention over there.

    Stop trying to make London happen. It’s not going to happen.

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