Before putting an NFL team in London, league wants to check logistics

AP

With the NFL still trying to figure out which or how many teams to put in Los Angeles, they’re also trying to work out the logistics of putting a team in England on a full-time basis.

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, fanned the flames this week by saying they were “working hard” to bring a team there on a full-time basis, and had “high hopes” of landing a franchise. The league has already agreed to a deal to bring two games a year to Tottenham Hotspur’s under-construction stadium in North London, and that could be the full-time home of a team if Johnson gets his wish.

But NFL international division executive vice president Mark Waller said there is no time frame for putting a team there, and that the league would do so only “when we’re ready.”

“The key for us is that we’ve got to build real certainty that any team that was to make that undertaking could truly be competitive,” Waller said, via the Associated Press. “The last thing we would ever want to do is to put a franchise in a place where the logistics, the travel, the sourcing of players, the infrastructure for supporting teams through a season doesn’t exist. . . .

“We feel very comfortable from a fan perspective, from a sponsor and a stadium perspective now, that we have all of the right things in place. The one thing that we’ve got to do more work on is how would it work from a team operational standpoint?”

This season will provide a test-run of sorts, as there will be games on back-to-back weekends in London for the first time, with the Oct. 25 Bills-Jaguars game followed by the Chiefs-Lions clash on Nov. 1 in Wembley Stadium.

“We need to make sure that the concept, actually when you bring it into practice, the teams can still be competitive,” Waller said. “There’s no real way to prove that out other than testing it. . . . Now we’ve got to be able to prove that and ensure to owners that we feel a team there could be competitive.”

Another alternative the league is considering is to play eight games overseas, without anchoring those games to one city. The league is openly flirting with Mexico and Germany in particular, as they constantly look for ways to wring money out of fans even if it’s not in American dollars.

But while the mayor of London might be excited, any talk of a team there full-time seems several years away, considering the NFL has taken 21 years to figure out how to get its product back in the second-largest American city.

78 responses to “Before putting an NFL team in London, league wants to check logistics

  1. “We need to make sure that the concept, actually when you bring it into practice, the teams can still be competitive,” Waller said. “There’s no real way to prove that out other than testing it. . . . Now we’ve got to be able to prove that and ensure to owners that we feel a team there could be competitive.”
    —————————————-

    Well, that’s the thing – you can’t guarantee that any team will be competitive from year to year. These things come and go. Even great franchises have down years – or multiple years. And much of it depends on ownership and who they put in place to run the team.

    Logistically, there’s a lot to overcome, but the real test will be if fans will still be interested once the novelty wears off. Also, if the NFL wants to give some kind of special favors to the London team to ensure it’s competitive, why would the other owners go for that?

    The NFL is huge, but I think the dream of an international league with the way the present schedule works – especially now that Thursday games are a permanent thing – isn’t realistic.

  2. It absolutely blows my mind that this is even being considered. Of all the dumb ideas Goodell has had, this one has got to be…in the middle somewhere. But still insanely stupid.

  3. Would be hard to get free agents to play for London. The taxes on entertainers in London is very high (musicians complain about this alot) and cost of living is insane. Makes living in Manhattan sound cheap. Not to mention the basic travel probems.

    Mexico City makes more sense but that has its own problems

  4. Hmmmm….I seem to remember someone making the comment, “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.”

    The NFL is becoming a runaway train, and no one has yet discovered the brakes are out.

  5. Ridiculous. The owners continue to show they are only concerned about themselves. There is absolutely no benefit to the existing fan base. It puts tremendous additional physical and emotional pressure on the players.
    Of course Goodell is all for it as he sees the opportunity to make his narcissistic mark on a global basis.
    Why not take a few steps back, fire Goodell, put some real money into studying and minimizing sports injuries and reestablish integrity into the game. Now there’s a thought.

  6. Maybe on ‘Bring Your Kid to Work’ day an NFL executive will overhear some 12 year old saying, “But they can’t play in London, Daddy, it’s too far.”

  7. “But while the mayor of London might be excited, any talk of a team there full-time seems several years away, considering the NFL has taken 21 years to figure out how to get its product back in the second-largest American city.”

    The difference being that London seems to actually care about getting a team. That said, it’s going to take some serious operational planning and logistics to make it viable. Considering the league can’t even work the byes properly to give us a quality Thursday game I have some doubts this will go well

  8. The league wants to check logistics? You think?

    The biggest hurdle to clear on this is a very basic one. How do you get players from America, who played major college football in the big five conferences, to pack up their families and move to London for six months? If you can’t get them to do that, then you can forget about putting a team in London, or anywhere else in Europe.

    A London based team would require the players on that team to be uprooted in a manner in which no other players currently are or have been. Then you have all the legal issues about income earned overseas versus inside the US, passports, players with criminal issues traveling overseas, etc, etc.

    You want a team in London? Get Europeans to start having more children, and raising those children to play American football instead of soccer. Otherwise, it is time to bury this pipedream of Roger Goodell’s into sports history’s unmarked graveyard of misguided, and very bad ideas.

  9. There is just no getting around the jet lag. It’s five hours from the east coast and 8 from the west. I’ve done it many times. No matter what you do it affects you. With jet lag you discover going east is harder than going west. Sure they are highly tuned physical specimens but they will not be 100% going either way.

  10. This is so dumb, so London has a 14 hour flight to play the LA Rams ?
    We shouldn’t even have any games there. Give them TV rights so its on free tv, but ratings will be low because of the premiereship.

  11. The “N” in NFL stands for National. It is not the I(Intertnational)FL. It seems like the moron in charge is hell-bent on putting a team in London. US fans do not want a team in London. His big goal is probably to end up with a new conference in Europe. Diluting the talent level of all team and the quality of the game don’t matter to him, just money.

    And wait until Goodell is ordered to appear in a British court.

  12. No other American sport organization is even thinking of doing this for theirs.
    With good reasons.
    Why can’t the NFL be like them?

  13. If we absolutely MUST do this, why not just do one game per week in London (or wherever) rather than placing a team there full-time?

    32 teams, 16 games = every team plays one game in London per year. And in Week 17, no one travels to London since the playoffs are the following week.

    I just don’t see how a team based in London could ever be competitive.

  14. If this happens then someday they would have the SB over there.
    And that will piss off tons of fans of those teams who can’t make the trip.

  15. I’m hoping they fail also putting teams in London, Germany, and Mexico City which I have been too for work and needed an armed chaperone when leaving the hotel/business complex. I’m sure free agents would sing up for that in a heart beat. All these places makes Jacksonville look better to players.

  16. This has disaster written all over it, what team would want that nonsense in their division? Can you imagine if the London team got home field advantage in a playoff game? The logistics of it? How does that fit into prime time? And what player wants to get drafted to play half the season overseas? Someone has $$$ signs instead of common sense dictating their thoughts.

  17. I was just going to say…PIGS GET FAT, HOGS GET SLAUGHTERED…NFL is already declining….play is lackluster, officiating still horrible, and concussions and CTE will not go away…

    A handful a franchise QB’s, a few more former franchise QB’s on the back side of their career, and a bunch of game managers at best….

  18. But while the mayor of London might be excited, any talk of a team there full-time seems several years away, considering the NFL has taken 21 years to figure out how to get its product back in the second-largest American city.
    ————————————-

    if you can’t succeed in LA, how can you succeed in London?

  19. I have so many questions about this. The Brits support it now because it is a novelty. What will they do when they have to support a team like the London Jags that are 2-14 every year?

    You realistically can’t have Thursday night or really Monday night games there. Think about the nightmare of a west coast team going on a 12 hour trip on a short week.

    How do you handle NFL players getting in trouble over there? (we wont kid ourselves if we dont think they will)

  20. Oh you mean putting a team literally minimum 6 hours in flight time from every other team presents a logistics challenge? Who in the hell is the NFL paying to figure these things out?

    Of course it is a logistics challenge. Furthermore, it is a Free Agent issue (not to mention drafted players who would asked not to be taken by the London team). It is completely absurd. The fans do not want it, at all.

    The NFL just want to be able to have roughly 4-5 games that they can start at 9am on the East Coast for additional TV revenue.

    It’s greedy and really shortsighted in my opinion…

  21. I vividley picture Year 1 a huge success with a packed Wembley every week. By Year 2 in a combination of the novelty wearing off and fans starting to understand the game enough that this Christian Ponder-led expansion team actually sucks they will stop coming and we’ll look at a 10 year span of 3 wins/year, miserable players tired of the long travel until eventually that team would move back to the US.

  22. if you put 2 teams in london, 1 in frankfurt, and 1 in berlin, they are still closer together than seattle is to any other team. look it up.

    it will happen. it will succeed. i cant fathom how anyone doesnt want to see the game go global. imagine the passion you already have PLUS national pride.

  23. Putting an NFL Team in London is the DUMBEST IDEA EVER! I understand there is money tobe made, but teams travelling to London and a London team travelling to the US for games is a nightmare.

    And, isn’t it THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE? When did London become a part of our nation? Another Dumb Idea from Goodell.

  24. 2 LEAGUES IN EUROPE & FAILED BOTH TIMES!!! Stop the nonsense including sending teams in regular season!!! NFL says its all about the fans well how about all the fans that lose a home game because we send their team out there??? AMERICAN FOOTBALL keep it there in America!!!

  25. I’d like to travel to England to watch a few EPL matches someday. The NFL fans in England can do the same for the NFL.

  26. Well they have a lot of stuff to look at:
    How it is addressed in the CBA
    COLA for the players and staff, etc
    Tax implications for everyone

    My suggestion stick a team there for two consecutive games it can be a home and an away see how things go after that. Because the London will have to do back to back games at home and away to make it fair. I’d hate to be the London team playing in SF or SD.

    Personally I think it’s not sustainable it’s a novelty and they should keep it that way. I think they should do a game in Germany for the servicemen at least a preseason game.

  27. thanks for the Beatles, Harry Potter and James Bond, but because they also gave us 50 Shades, England can have the Browns or Redskins

  28. Do you think for a second that the English Premier League would ever entertain the idea of placing a football club in the states? What an unbelievably stupid idea NFL. #Goodellmustgo

  29. Logistics my butt. How are you going to enforce policy in a sovereign country when you continuously get defeated in court here? The laws of England are now going to throw a huge monkey wrench into this and would require a whole new CBA….wont happen.

  30. “Another alternative the league is considering is to play eight games overseas, without anchoring those games to one city.”
    I keep saying that the chatter over changing to an 18 game season is to make changing to 17 seem like a compromise.

    Every team plays one neutral site game per year, so 16 total. 8 go to a new stadium in LA, where all of the imported populace will get to see their ancestral rooting interest at least once every couple of years. The other 8 go to London, Mexico City, Toronto, Beijing, etc.

    What do the teams lose? One preseason home game every other year.

    Bonus: Nobody finishes with a .500 record without a tie.

  31. Speaking as an Englishman, who has been a fan of the NFL since 1986-This is going to fail and fail badly for a multitude of reasons.

    1. They can’t ensure a team to “be competitive”
    2. Fans over here will not change the allegiance in any way shape or form.
    3.Free Agents. Let’s hypothesize and say the London franchise got put in place 5 years ago. You think Peyton Manning would have even visited the place when he has the Broncos to pick from (Yes i’m a Denver fan lol) hell he didn’t even visit Seattle…point being they won’t be able to attract the high quality free agents, just the journeymen who it’s the only option.
    4. Currently as everyone who plays over here has the bye week after playing. That would either have to continue. It would also mean that the British franchise would NOT have that luxury when they move country to country.
    5.The NFL would have to schedule around the fixtures of Tottenham Hotspur…who occasionally play on Sundays-normally the schedule is released in June. Sometimes though (because of European competition, the schedule is not set in stone–if they were to be playing thursday, the league game would be moved from Saturday to Sunday.
    So they are going up against UEFA too.

    The NFL have got carried away with having Wembley sell out…..World League—Failed. The London Monarchs were one of the first teams to close. The NFL needs to take note. Then it actually needs to actually ask the players…Both at College and Pro Level.
    I’m expecting it to happen, i’m also expecting it to fail…

    One things for certain.. When the London Beefeaters play the Denver Broncos….i’ll be there hoping the Broncos annihilate them 🙂

  32. laces out says:
    Sep 25, 2015 10:36 AM
    thanks for the Beatles, Harry Potter and James Bond, but because they also gave us 50 Shades, England can have the Browns or Redskins
    ——————–

    Ahh…keep em lol

  33. At least you can on the games there around every corner! The hypocrisy of the NFL.

    This NFL Comments Sponsored by “XXXX” fill in the blank daily gambling….errr fantasy site.

  34. How about this? London gets an NFL team and we get Chelsea. Deal?

    Also, sharing one stadium full time with Tottenham and an NFL teams is going to destroy the field. Dumb dumb dumb.

    The next NFL owner who demands that the London taxpayers pay for a new stadium ala in America will be hung, drawn, and quartered.

  35. I think the only way this works is to have at least a division in Europe… that way at least half the team’s games could be scheduled within a time zone or two. A single team, with divisional opponents on another continent, probably won’t work until the NFL perfects transporter technology. Beam me to Barcelona, Scotty!

  36. cafetero1075 says:
    Sep 25, 2015 8:57 AM
    This is so dumb, so London has a 14 hour flight to play the LA Rams ?
    We shouldn’t even have any games there. Give them TV rights so its on free tv, but ratings will be low because of the premiereship.

    —————–

    Wrong. Totally wrong. The Premiership games don’t cross over with NFL games at all. The Final Sunday premiership game finishes about 5.50. NFL games start at 6pm/9.05pm/9/25pm or 1.25am.

    They won’t put it on Free T.V at all-They have no need because they know a hell of a lot of people either watch the 5 games that are on over here on Sky Sports(not free) or for the harder nfl addicts amongst us… there is NFL Network/GamePass combo…. Neither of these is free.

    BTW, i’m totally against having a franchise over here. Will cause more harm than good.

  37. Here is a tip I will provide the NFL for free. It is not logistically possible to field a competitive team in Europe.

    That was easy.

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