The NFL is heading into its 13th year of playing regular-season games in London, and the league is showing no sign of slowing down. But it’s getting increased competition.
This weekend the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox played two games in London, the first time Major League Baseball has played in Europe. MLB’s entrée into the London market means all four major American sports leagues have now played regular-season games there; the NHL played two games there in 2007 while the NBA has played a game there annually since 2013.
MLB placing Yankees-Red Sox in London this year (and scheduling to St. Louis Cardinals-Chicago Cubs games in London next year) is giving the London fans the best that American baseball has to offer. That’s a contrast with the NFL, which has generally sent the teams that struggle to fill up their home stadiums to London. MLB teams, which play 81 home games per year, can more readily afford to give up a home game than NFL teams, with only eight home games.
Whether any of the four major American sports ever gain a real foothold in London, or whether their games prove to be a mere curiosity, remains to be seen. But the NFL now has competition in London not only from the homegrown sports, but also from the other American leagues.