Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says the NFL should have a franchise in London.
Jones, in London for tomorrow’s game against the Jaguars, said thrice-yearly games at Wembley Stadium are nice, but what the NFL really needs is to have a team make its home base in London.
“On a personal basis and speaking for the Dallas Cowboys we very much would like to have a team in London,” Jones said. “It has cache. It has an air about it of international competition I think that London is probably one of two or three cities outside of the United States that really does have all of the criteria that I would look at for having an NFL team.”
Several NFL owners have expressed interest in having a team in London, and from their perspective it makes sense: The league really can’t get much bigger than it already is in the United States, so if the business is going to continue to grow, that growth will have to happen overseas.
But no one who wants a team in London ever seems to have answers for all the logistical questions that would arise with having a team in Europe. Would it be an expansion team or would an existing team move there? How would the NFL deal with the obvious competitive disadvantage the London team would face, thanks to free agents not wanting to uproot their families to live in another country? Would the team be based in London year round, with minicamps, Organized Team Activities, training camp and the preseason all in London, or would the team only be there for its eight home games? Would the London team get additional salary cap space to make up for its players having to pay higher taxes in the United Kingdom?
And, of course, the big question is whether there’s really enough of a fan base in England to sustain a team in London. Right now, the NFL is able to sell out Wembley Stadium three times a year. But that doesn’t mean the NFL will be able to sell out Wembley Stadium eight times a year, especially if the team that’s playing at Wembley stinks, as expansion teams usually do.
So while Jones wants a team in London, it’s no sure thing that it would be a hit for the NFL.