Logistics prevent full-time team in London, for now

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Yes, the NFL would like to work out the logistics in a way that allows a team to move to London. No, they haven’t figured it out yet. And there’s no indication that they ever will.

Per a league source, there’s a consensus that the logistical challenges can’t be resolved in a way that ensures true competitive balance. With the London-based team at a disadvantage for various reasons, the league would have to come up with ways to offset problems ranging from the exchange rate to the tax rate to in-season tryouts of free-agents.

The problem is that, if the NFL provides specific benefits to the London team and the London team thrives, U.S.-based teams inevitably will complain that the league is doing too much for the England team.

The league hasn’t ruled out the identification of a potential solution, but for now there’s no clear answer. This means that the best way to grow the game in England will be to continue to expand the current slate of games involving different teams, with roster expanding from three per year to as many as eight.

With the London games now falling into the 9:30 a.m. ET window on Sundays and enjoying a national audience, the benefits of playing eight games with different teams extends to enhanced TV ratings on eight of 17 Sundays for games that otherwise would be absorbed into the smattering of 1:00 p.m. ET kickoffs.

40 responses to “Logistics prevent full-time team in London, for now

  1. Well, first of all you need to put them in a division, either AFC East or NFC East. To keep eight 4-team divisions, this would displace a team.

    Miami out of the AFC East would leave NE, Buff, and NY all relatively close. Miami could join the AFC South and maybe Jacksonville is the team that relocates to London.

    Dallas out of the NFC East would leave NY, Phil, Wash all relatively close. Dallas could join the NFC South and maybe Tampa is the team that relocates to London.

    The London team would need some quasi-permanent practice facilities in the states somewhere near their division opponents. They would also need their away games to be back-to-back deals with the second game being a road division game so they could travel to the first game and then on to their quasi-permanent facility and then play their second away game in their division before heading home.

    Teams playing away at London should either open their season there or hopefully have their bye week before/after the game or participate in Thursday night game at home before heading to London.

    It is a mess, but possible.

  2. I often fly to Europe for work and there should be no problem with this.

    They are not flying economy cattle car, they’re flying first class private charter jet. They don’t wait in security lines like most travelers do.

  3. Better idea, let them keep their kick ball game and we keep our, what they call “handegg” game. I personally don’t give a crap if the nfl loses out on some money.

  4. The real problem is returning to US. It’s a 6 hour flight to east coast, and you gain 6 hours in time zone travel. So you arrive in US at approximate time you left UK, but you body clock is off by at minimum of 6 hours. Takes several days to get back in-sync again.

  5. Gee, with all the success the NFL has had within its own continent in its second largest city LA, it just makes sense to throw it against the wall and see if it sticks in London. Dummies. They have too much money for their own good trying to think up ways to get even more greedy.

  6. Teams have shown it’s physically possible (NY-London is only an hour or 2 longer flight than NY-Seattle!), and ticket sales and tv markets suggest a team could possibly survive in London, but I can’t see it happening without slightly faster planes.

    Concorde would have been perfect! However, a joint Aerion-Airbus private supersonic jet (for 12 passengers but later models could be bigger) is due to fly in 2019, and they estimate a total potential market of 400 orders. And other makers are not that far behind. So 10yrs from now it might be no big deal to play London. And don’t think the NFL don’t already know about it. They’ve already said it was only because of the Rugby World Cup in London this Fall that they didn’t already expand to 4 games this year.

  7. I can’t see any players wanting to play for a franchise in London and that’s another problem. The league need to fix the LA situation first and then figure out everything else.

  8. The league can’t even figure out how to measure footballs. I am not durprised that they will continue to attempt to solve the riddle of “it isn’t going to work”.

  9. bonesawisready says:
    Sep 27, 2015 8:15 PM
    And what significant change in the logistics is the league expecting in the near future that would make this feasible?
    A few different groups are 4-6 years from test flying various rival designs in a new generation of supersonic passenger planes, with the first smaller jets possibly only a decade away from entering service.

  10. Not to mention that, if a London team happens to play a night game on the West Coast, their players would essentially playing from 1am to 4am in the morning. Assuming an 5pm West Coast start time.

  11. j huber says:
    Sep 27, 2015 8:41 PM
    The real problem is returning to US.
    No! It’s always heading east is the problem, because the body clock finds it easier to extend the day than to compress it or be jumping to the next morning, and this is a well known phenomenon I know only too well. I’ve traveled London from the West coast (and sometimes East coast) for a decade for my job, and when you get to London you’re tired and yet it’s morning. But heading west you land in US, tired of course, but its late afternoon or evening by the time you get to your place. But if you can sleep on a plane (I usually can’t) it’s no big deal traveling either way for some of my colleagues.

  12. streetyson says:
    Sep 27, 2015 10:07 PM


    At least a decade out, plus probably an additional few years for commercial implementation, and at least another 5 years of proven safety before a billionaire owner would feel comfortable putting their entire team on one. So we are talking about maybe 20 years before we would see the NFL transporting teams to and from London on these jets.

  13. You’d probably have a problem with keeping core players once they saw how much British taxes are, the cost of living and paying state taxes where you’re a resident. John Lennon was complaining about British taxes in the 60s and things haven’t gotten easier on British subjects, as far as taxes.

  14. No kidding, Sherlock. No American players are going to want to play their home games outside the western hemisphere.

    The only way a London franchise ever works is if European high schools and colleges start playing American football. Otherwise, you can bury Goodell’s brainchild in history’s unmarked graveyard of extraordinarily bad ideas.

  15. @ bonesawisready – So, 15-20yrs instead of 10yrs for the NFL to trust the new supersonic jets. You asked for a significant logistical change the league might expect and I gave you THE major one!

    The BIG problem the NFL has is one of investment-credibility in the UK. They promised a minimum 5yr investment in the World League but pulled out after 2, then had a 2nd go with NFL Europe but still never spent enough time and money committing to developing the game there and Brits just saw it as a poor relation to the World League (which had been truly popular in the UK). It’d take a decade or two to overcome the doubters there and get established in a country that already has lots of big sports. BTW, fwippel, there is now a tiny college football scene in the UK – nothing like the US though!

  16. Another bad idea just so Goodell’s wife can shop in London. London Jags would become a permanent road team in the second half of season– how’d that work out before? Check out the Dallas Texans in early ’50s before they became the Baltimore Colts. Actually halves the appeal of London games as Jags have very little appeal and fans here just wait for their favorite teams to come. About as analytically bankrupt as Goodell’s legal manueverings these days.

  17. bigdog2372 says: “Keep the NFL in America”.
    I wonder how the folks at great American companies like Ford, Boeing, Apple and Microsoft would feel if they were told they could only trade in the USA ?

    If Americans want to export its culture and products worldwide, its only natural that places like England are going to want to watch their sports too……..

  18. Base the team on the east coast, New York most likely, and fly them back for the games. Problem solved.

  19. They should have just let Jon Bon Jovi move the craptacular Bills to Toronto, and solved all of this international intrigue.

    The last thing I want to read about is teams playing a game in London on Sunday, then having to play Thursday night. You know it would happen.

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