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Bringing an NFL franchise to London – is it really the right decision?

article-0-183256D800000578-131_634x414Today I read on the BBC how an ‘NFL London franchise could be ‘worth more than £100m‘ to UK’. Personally I love the idea of seeing more games here in the UK but I think there are many things which could hold back its success.

Firstly, it’d be too expensive for us fans in the UK to go to the full season of 8 games, especially when you can catch highlights easily through Red Zone on SkySports, or The American Football Show on Channel 4 on a Monday night.

I also think it would pose a problem for the players and staff as they would have to move here for the season meaning they would be away from their families, unless of course, they moved here? But I doubt that very much.

At the same time, by having a franchise here, it gives more of us a chance to see the away teams, meaning more fans get to see their favourite teams play. So, there’s some real plus points and negatives.

The NFL seem keen on the idea. The UK Government seem keen on it (for obvious reasons) but it’s down to the fans as to whether or not it will be successful, after all it’s our money that will sustain it. So I decided to ask the question on Twitter to see what our NFL fans here in the UK really felt about it. Here are the responses I received:

“We shouldn’t have a franchise here!! The game is American football, it should stay in the US. Exhibition, pro bowls are fine here, but I think the integrity of the NFL would take a hit. The teams enjoy it now as it’s a novelty coming here. Might change flying here once or twice in a few months as regular season is short. Overall I think because the NFL is so American it can only thrive over there. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game, but part of the appeal is because I have to go to the US if I wanted to watch a game.” – @alex1975uk

“Absolutely, if it’s financially viable for the city of London and the tax payer. It’s fan base is growing exponentially” – @TimandTomNFL

“1) It would fail. 2) Its the NFL not IFL. 3) IS [International Series] games better than a franchise as most peeps have teams already” – @AdamMegabyte

“I love the thought of 8 games being player in London, but I just don’t think a London franchise would work out. Simple reason.” – @olderschool

“It’d be a logistical nightmare, & don’t think you can guarantee a fan base as most people already have teams they support” – @Mosey004

“Wouldn’t work, Plus with so many UK fans already following a set franchise. The International Series is good enough for me” – @Hilesh83

“I think the fan base over here already have the teams they support. Having a London franchise wouldn’t make me become a fan!” – @Gray_1978

“I think a team would be good, but Wembley is too ambitious to start with for a full season. It’ll take time to build loyalty.” – @d_ericsson

“Love the idea, just not convinced it would work. Either way the next few years will be v.interesting for UK NFL fans.” – @PaulHolland66

At the end of the day, it’s out of our hands as the fans, but it’ll be the success of the International Series games over the next few years that will help make the final decision for the NFL. I’m happy with the current structure that we’ve had this and last year, it’d be nice to see more of a variety in the ‘home’ teams that come over but a franchise working here, only time will tell.

Article written by:

Liz has covered the NFL for five seasons and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for NFLGirlUK.com. Since launching the website in 2014, she has made regular appearances on the TalkSport2 ‘All American Sports Show’ with Nat Coombs and in 2016 was ranked No.37 (of 400+) in the “Super Bowl: Top 50 UK Influencers” by marketing software producers Analytica for “igniting conversations” between fans.

Join the discussion

  1. Gordon

    Great Post, it saddens me a little that we have so many fans of the great game in this country and yet so few (it seems) who have confidence in the idea. The main stumbling block from a fans perspective seems to be that almost all feel associated to one or two teams already. This is understandable if real links between the fan and teams are in place such as previously living in or regularly visiting the US region where the teams reside however many fans dont have such an obvious tie to a team and yet many seem to be unwilling to declare a London franchise as even their second team. I’m sorry but we have a chance to bring this great game to our land/city and I think its a little pathetic when UK fans of the game are not willing to call London even their “second” team. I agree with you that there other stumbling blocks but I shall support the move to the UK all the way & I shall be in line early for a season ticket as long as it is remotely affordable at the time. Then, if it does not work, then at least we tried.

    Nice blog, will be back.

    Citrus Player

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