The NFL UK International games have been announced for 2017 and the reaction has been decidedly mixed.
Between the Saints, Dolphins, Ram, Cardinals, Vikings, Browns, Jags and Ravens you potentially have 8 teams who could all very easily miss the play offs this season. Comments every year are along the lines of how the NFL always sends dud fixtures to the UK and this announcement has brought more of the same.
A lot can happen between now and these fixtures – the Ravens have every chance of doing something in post season. This time last season the Arizona Cardinals were a fantastic team going places. The Jaguars and Browns despite results are 2 very entertaining teams to watch with play-makers in their ranks and in Drew Brees of the Saints there is a continuing MVP candidate. The of course for all teams there is free agency and of course the draft.
So what’s all the fuss about?
With 4 fixtures now in London the chance to buy a season ticket to all 4 games will remain. This means close to £200 a person plus traveling and if you live outside of the south, accommodation. An increase in fixtures makes it more prohibitive to buy a ticket for every game, some have commented that for the price of going to all the games they can afford to go on holiday to the city of the team they follow and watch them play at home – a dream vacation some of us still dream of.
The answer to me seems simple, send the International Series on a journey around the UK. London may be the big draw for Americans but the support within the UK is all over. I myself went to the yearly meet up of UK Seahawk fans this past weekend and it was very successfully held in Glasgow. Edinburgh has Murrayfield Stadium which was also home to the Scottish Claymores, Manchester has Old Trafford or the Etihad.
If NFL UK continues to increase its fixtures, they may find ongoing support doesn’t dwindle, but does pick and choose the games that they want to spend their hard earned on.