Since the 2007 season, the NFL has hosted a number of its regular season games every year outside of the United States and until at least 2020, games will continue to be held in the London at Wembley Stadium. Between 2016 and 2018 at least three games will also take place at Twickenham Stadium, the home of England Rugby and from 2018 until at least 2027 at least 2 games per year will also take place at the Northumberland Development Project, which will be the new home of football team, Tottenham Hotspur.
In 2011, the NFL owners approved playing NFL games in Great Britain through the year 2016. This stated that a home team could visit every year for up to five years but visitors could only visit once every five years. This would mean that under the current agreement, San Francisco, New England, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Miami and Detroit would not be able to return as visitors but may return as the home team. However, this year Detroit Lions return (again) to London as visitors – so clearly rules don’t quite count. What can I say? No comment.
For the geeks among us, I have some interesting stats in that the games for the International Series have been popular, with tickets for the two games per season selling out in two days, nine months in advance. According to the NFL, only 3% of those attending the London games are Americans or American expatriates, while 22% are from London and 60% from elsewhere in Britain.
Today is the day of the huge announcement from the NFL on the teams heading to the UK for the 2016 International Series, and so far we’ve had a number of rumours of the teams coming over. There is a lot of talk generally about the teams visiting London for 2016, in that they will predominantly be teams who have yet to visit.
So far, 20 of our 32 NFL teams have visited London and the teams yet to visit include Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins.
So…. What do we predict for 2016? It’s difficult to predict as really anything could happen, but rumours surrounding the 2016 International Series have particularly talked about Green Bay Packers facing Washington Redskins, Jacksonville Jaguars visiting twice, once as home team against either Colts or Texans and again as the away side against San Diego Chargers and finally, Philadelphia Eagles against Cincinnati Bengals. Of this, this is all simply rumours but all will be revealed later today.