Talk persists of an NFL team moving to London

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If one or two NFL teams move to Los Angeles, the NFL will need a new potential destination to which an owner can threaten to move his franchise if/when efforts to finance a new stadium with public money fail.

Playing the role of Los Angeles once the NFL returns there could be London.

Despite many logistical issues that would seem to make it ultimately impractical, talk persists of a team moving to London.  According to the London Evening Standard, Chancellor George Osborne says he has pledged full backing of the British government to a potential franchise move.

“This is primarily a decision for the owners of the clubs and the NFL organisation but I’ve said to the NFL that anything the Government can do to make this happen we will do, because I think it would be a huge boost to London,” Osborne said.  “We could have not just the Star Spangled Banner at the beginning of NFL games but also God Save The Queen.”

So when could it happen?

“I think that there’s a chance in the next few years to get an NFL team for London,” Osborne said.  “There are 32 teams in America — and one of them could be a London team.  That’s a serious prospect.”

“We warmly welcome the Chancellor’s strong support for the possibility of an NFL team in London and look forward to welcoming him to a game at Wembley over the next few weeks,” the league said in response to Osborne’s remarks.  “Our key priority is to continue to build our fan base in the UK so that there is strong demand for any future plans in London.  We will do this by ensuring that we are able to offer top class action on the field and brilliant events — which include the fan rally at Trafalgar Square on Saturday — off it.  We are looking forward to two exciting upcoming games in London and are committed to further strengthening the links between the NFL and our UK fans.”

The NFL began its London series in 2007, with one game per year.  Last year, the NFL increased to two.  This year, the total inventory has increased to three.

An alternative to moving a team to London continues to be playing up to eight games per year there, each involving different teams.  The primary challenge to that approach comes from persuading enough teams to give up periodic home games.  Recently, the NFL moved a step in that direction by requiring all Super Bowl host teams to give up a home game to London.

71 responses to “Talk persists of an NFL team moving to London

  1. Does any actual fan like this idea?

    Wouldn’t Toronto make more sense as a first international location?

  2. Its just my opinion but I think its a terrible idea. We as Amercians are angry when other countries push there beliefs on us , yet its ok for us to take ” our” sport and push it on them. Money Money money………shame on them all ….Kraft included and as Pats fan that sickens me to say that but its the TRUTH….

  3. So for West Coast teams:

    Go play Sunday in London at 2pm local, play game, leave London for West Coast about 7pm local, arrive home at what says 10pm local but you actually have been up and about for about 24 hours at this point and have played an NFL game in that span. Now go play on the East Coast on Thursday. (We care about player safety…..)

  4. I’m watching less and less games now as most are sloppy, penalty filled, painfully slow and generally soft games where the best even perfectly legal hits get you a 15 yard penalty. The day London gets a team will be the day I turn off the NFL forever.

  5. if the 9:30am FOX window on Sunday is highly rated then I bet the odds of a London team skyrocket.

    You could sell ANOTHER TV package of 4-8 9:30am games per year

  6. This is all about $$$$ They tried playing games in Mexico City, but London has more coin so now that’s the new darling. If somebody in Toyko throws enough coin at the NFL that will be the new destination. As an NFL fan for more than 30 years I could not care less about a UK team or UK fans.

  7. The Billionaire Boys Club otherwise known as the NFL sure is infatuated with London. Mark Cuban sure nailed it about these greedy fools, didn’t he?

  8. Soccer teams and many other sports around the world play internationally with no problem with the logistics. Why is this such a problem for the supposed greatest sport of the greatest country to pull off when the rest of the world that we so often look down on routinely does so.

    Give the teams taking aways games in London the bye following the London game like they do now and no issue at all.

    These guys are flying first class on private jets, they’re not in the cattle car economy.

    I’ve been to Europe and Asia many times and the jet leg to Europe and back is nothing.

  9. A handful of Canadian cities make the most sense due to travel logistics, cultural similarities to the US, and a potential fan base that’s already familiar with Canadian Football; however, the NHL and MLB have already been there, done that, and gotten the t-shirt. The NFL wants to be a Pioneer, so they will probably choose London over Mexico City.

  10. Will someone ask the Chancellor (Secretary of the Treasury basically) how the NFL could possibly skirt around the EC Treaty (basis of EU Labour Law), because as is, the Draft and Franchise/Transition Tags would be illegal.

  11. The NFL better start cultivating some British born NFL players than because I can guarantee you no American player will ever sign a free agent contract over there to spend eight or nine months away from their families, much less move their families across the pond. They’re already away from them enough as it is. This continues to be a terrible idea. A couple of games a year over there is already too much if you ask me. Let them have their football and we’ll keep our football.

  12. What is the deal with the NFL’s infatuation with London? .. Canada should be the first place to look if they want to become “International” .. they have an entire league they support up there.

  13. How will they reconcile the legal sport gambling there? Or is it only an issue when the hypocrites want it to be?

  14. London is a terrible idea. In fact the nfl needs to terminate 4 franchises just to make football worth caring about. Drop the axe on the raiders, the browns, the Jaguars and titans. Useless teams anyway

  15. I don’t like the idea of internationalizing football as part of the “NFL”. Thursday Night Football is questionable in of itself for the logistical issues it creates so I’m highly skeptical that a London team situation can operate smoothly.

    I’d far rather see a smaller farm/minor league in our own country, that offsets its schedule from the NFL. It’d be nice to see some grinders with heart break out of the minors to make it on some NFL team PLUS I would be able to WATCH FOOTBALL during the NFL offseason instead of being subjected to one contrived topic after another from sports media. It’s not as if the NFL Draft is ever going to fill the gaps of the offseason.

  16. If the NFL really wanted to expand internationally, why not add 2 expansion teams–1 in Canada or Mexico City and 1 in London ??
    That way they would have their own team from scratch and not have to steal another city’s team which leads to hard feelings and angry fans, politicians, and business leaders.

  17. floriosnuts says:
    Oct 23, 2014 2:25 PM
    This is all about $$$$ They tried playing games in Mexico City, but London has more coin so now that’s the new darling. If somebody in Toyko throws enough coin at the NFL that will be the new destination.
    So??? Are you saying any other sports teams, or businesses in general, don’t care about the bottom line? Or shouldn’t?

  18. American football is just too wonderful of a thing to be limited to the North American geography and population. The UK needs and wants to embrace it because they can see the value of adding this sport for the benefit of their country’s people and economy, and it represents a huge win-win for two nations to do something amazing together.

    It’s going to be awesome to see this sport expand internationally and I can’t wait to see it happen; I’m excited!!

  19. SparkyGump says:
    Oct 23, 2014 2:25 PM
    The Billionaire Boys Club otherwise known as the NFL sure is infatuated with London. Mark Cuban sure nailed it about these greedy fools, didn’t he?
    Well….no matter how many times you guys say this, it simply isn’t true. Mark Cuban is NOT correct. The NFL has never been more popular or profitable. That’s actually the truth, now isn’t it?

  20. terribel idea i’d rather Mexico City any Canadian City if they need to go international. I still think Hawaii deserves a team after hosting all those terrible pro bowls for so many years.

  21. jimmypx says:
    Oct 23, 2014 2:41 PM
    If the NFL really wanted to expand internationally, why not add 2 expansion teams–1 in Canada or Mexico City and 1 in London ??
    That way they would have their own team from scratch and not have to steal another city’s team which leads to hard feelings and angry fans, politicians, and business leaders.
    If a company has a store open in a non profitable area, you don’t just open more stores and keep the one losing money. You move the non profitable store. The NFL will do just that. Anger people? If the team isn’t profitable, then there must not have been enough fans to anger. And since you’re leaving the area, who cares about the local politicians and business leaders?

  22. It’s one thing for fans of a current city to be bullied into public funds for a stadium in fear of losing a team to LA. It’s a whole different thing to threaten to move the team off the continent. If the Raiders threatened to move to London I’d lose all respect for the franchise and offer to drive them to the airport. They would be pretty much pushing the reset button on fan support.

  23. I think this is absolutely a terrible idea and will never really work. So a London team is going to force drafted players to live in another country? I can see litigation happening there.

    The entire motivation is for the NFL to get more money. Fine. Then just have 8 games played in London my different teams coming off a bye.

  24. Did the NFL tire of every team using the threat of ‘moving to LA’ to get a publicly funded stadium? Or have they decided which team is moving to LA, and they will now play ‘we might move to London’ to suck money from taxpayers and preserve the Owners’ billions?

  25. ahostiletakeover says:
    Oct 23, 2014 2:36 PM
    The NFL better start cultivating some British born NFL players than because I can guarantee you no American player will ever sign a free agent contract over there…
    Let’s go ahead and stop you right there. Other sports are already proving your statement to be false. Americans play abroad in many sports. And, don’t ever think money doesn’t talk. You love your home team. The players on that team don’t. They are working their job, for money. That’s it.

  26. “This is primarily a decision for the owners of the clubs…”

    This statement alone aggravates me. CLUBS?! English chaps.

  27. harrisonhits2 says:
    Oct 23, 2014 2:29 PM

    “Soccer teams and many other sports around the world play internationally with no problem with the logistics”…..

    Here is where your premise is wrong, yeah soccer teams play each other in the champions league etc going on for 40 plus years, but you dont have a British team based in France, or a Spanish team based in Ital y or whatnot. Its easier to travel around Europe meaning a short flight say from UK to Spain… What is it a 7 hr flight from wherever to the UK. Logistically its a nightmare, half the rosters wont get work permits, good luck trying to attract free agents, and yes that sucky weather.. Good luck also trying to get players to live there 6 months out of the year. You thought Eli was a baby when he didnt want to go to San Diego.. u wait for this one. Dumb idea..

  28. Maybe this is less about greed and more about creating another leverage city, like Florio is suggesting.

    As implausible as it might sound, I see this as the more logical reason why the NFL won’t let up talk of this insane idea.

    But think about it. Owners, executives, and the league itself stand to gain a lot if there is a public belief that the NFL WILL move a team to the UK. It puts every fledgling city on notice that if you want to keep your team you’d better be prepared to fork over tax dollars to build new stadiums. Kind of like the whole “If you want a Super Bowl in your city, get ready to comp us”.

  29. For God’s Sake – Enough with this nonsense!

    It’s a bad idea!

    The Logistics alone will create a competitive advantage for the 24 teams that don;t have to travel to London for a game, and there is no way a London based team can win on the road at all.

    If a team has to go to London, make it the Raiders. No one will know the difference anyway.

  30. Yeh because I want to get up even earlier on a Sunday to check the injury report for my fantasy football. How about we work on things like a team in LA or moving the super bowl to Saturday night so I can enjoy it not having to go to work the next day.

  31. 17 game season = 16 neutral site games to go to London, Los Angeles, and elsewhere. Eliminates the need for teams to give up home games when playing globally.

  32. Any team based in London, along with any teams that have to play against them, will be at a decided disadvantage.

    Teams gong to London will have flight times between 6 and 12 hours. That’s ridiculous.

    If the NFL is serious, have a leave in the UK and let them play the superbowl winner.

    I almost forgot….. Goodell is a moron.

  33. To those saying that this is all about money……

    Well DUH

    The NFL is all about money. The fines for wearing the wrong brand of headphones or clothing is about money. The TC contracts and fantasy football are all about money.

    All sports is about money.

  34. Only way it would work is if the new team in London acquires Roethlisberger.
    The team would be more easily accepted with “Big Ben” as QB.
    The “London Beefeaters” – black pants, red jerseys and big furry black helmets (they would also mitigate the head injury problem).
    Get on it you NFL geniuses…a marketing bonanza in the offing.

    God(ell) save the Queen!

  35. Don’t move… 4 team expansion….

    Change to 3 6-team divisions in each conference

    NFC East: Dallas, Giants, Washington, Philly, Carolina, Toronto
    NFC Central: Chicago, GB, Detroit, Minn., TB, Atlanta
    NFC West: SF, Seattle, Arizona, St.L, New Orleans, (L.A. #2, Mexico City or San Antonio)

    AFC East: Jets, Buffalo, NE, Miami, Jacksonville, London
    AFC Central: Cleveland, Cincy, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Indy, Tenneseee
    AFC West: SD, Oakland, Denver, KC, Houston, L.A.

    Move to the 18 game schedule…. Scheduling is:
    2x vs. teams in division (10 games)
    3 games vs. rotating 1/2 of division in conference
    3 games vs. rotating 1/2 of division out of conference
    1 game vs. team who finished same position in conference
    1 game vs. team who finished same position out conference
    So, basically same as now (4 non-division conference games, 4 other conference games), with 2 extra divisional games.

    3 division winners, plus 4 wild cards. 3 wild-card games first weekend per conference. Only #1 seeds get a bye.

    With less and larger divisions, we shouldn’t see another 8-8 or 7-9 division winner.

  36. Next thing you know, they’ll want to put an NFL team in Moscow. That would be a lot more interesting than watching a game from London (with the British fans politely clapping when their team scores a touchdown).

  37. 75,000 Brits watched Cowboys at Seahawks, the featured game on Sky Sports. That’s not the big fan base that the NFL pretends exists here. You can find all these facts without the NFL spin online.

  38. Don’t think it would work. NFL is a non profit in the states. In London they tax 50% and it wouldn’t make sense. NFL are GREEDIEST people on earth.

  39. Why? Thursday games are already not a good product but generate too much money to even talk about stopping them, Mark Cuban looks to be right how much money do you need to make they don’t want football in europe remember the World League/NFL Euorpe

  40. Everyone say it with me…


    Kinda rolls off the tongue. The worldwide boost in Raiders merch alone would make it worth it for them to leave the Bay Area, let alone the international press coverage that would occur.

  41. The day the NFL goes international is the day it jumps the shark for me.

    The day there is a team across the Atlantic Ocean = The last day I watch NFL football.

    Kind of looking forward to it. The game has declined steadily over the years. The media nonsense, the off the field garbage, the on-field penalties, the slow systematic removal of defense…

    Yeah…it’s on the way down.

  42. I’m completely against London getting a team, but at least they can sell out a game. Toronto is a horrible football market and doesn’t support the game at any level. Once the “place to be seen” novelty wears off, it would be a disaster in Toronto. Fyi, I live in Toronto and enjoy both the NFL & CFL.

  43. The NFL is approaching this all wrong. They don’t need to move a team to London, they need to expand the game.

    Think of it this way. If Starbucks wants to have a prescence in another region, they don’t close a franchise that is already successful. And yes, all these NFL franchises are successful.

    The Solution = 4 more teams and an “international” division. Canada, Mexico, London, other.

  44. I have pounded this idea completely into the ground. Why are they pushing this London thing? Everyone knows that the teams that the games in London are either between two terrible teams that nobody cares about or it is a cake game between one great team and one terrible one. This is the NFL or the “National Football League”, London isn’t in America, it is in Europe. People in London already have teams from the states. That coupled with the fact that it falls during their futbol season, so good luck with scheduling conflicts.

    They think they will get money and they will be helping a team out, but in reality, a team will either be expanded there or it will move there and nobody is going to want to sign there or they will only sign one year contracts so they will get a lot of scab players. That team won’t last very long there. Don’t tell that to Goodell though, everything is gravy to him. Hopefully he gets convicted of perjury because he will lie to the court.

  45. I don’t like the idea. I agree with the comments that suggest if the NFL wants to branch out, Canada makes more sense. Toronto or Vancouver or Montreal. N’est-ce pas?

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