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In 2007, America’s NFL played its first game at Wembley Stadium. Since the gridiron football league started playing yearly games in London, rumours have been rampant that the NFL will place an expansion team in the Big Smoke. NFL and Premier League fans can visit Virgin and get the latest bet bonuses for the weekend’s big games. With Tottenham Hotspurs’ new White Hart Lane set to open in time for the next Premier League season, it is believed the NFL will explore expansion options using the venue in the coming years.
Is London ready for a full-time NFL team?
London is one of the world’s biggest cities. Like its American counterparts, London can accommodate multiple professional and minor sports teams. Of course, football is the biggest sport that London’s population can support, but there are other sports within the capital such as rugby, cricket, ice hockey, and basketball that sports fans watch.
For decades, America sports leagues have tried to lure British sports fans over to their games and leagues. The NFL regularly plays a game in London. The NBA also ventures over to the capital to play each year. Major League Baseball will play a series of games between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox this summer. American sports leagues are trying hard for world domination and London seems to be the city they want to conquer most. Meanwhile, they want to ignore England’s own sporting traditions.
London has already been the home of an American football team. World League of American Football’s London Monarchs existed from 1991 to 1998. The franchise won the initial World Bowl but due to lack of fan interest in the WLAF and later NFL Europe the Monarchs folded. Is it a possibility the NFL could succeed where the Monarchs failed?
Time is right for the NFL in London
In 2018, NFL executives told Forbes magazine that it was the right time for the NFL to place a team in London permanently. American football has grown leaps and bounds over the last decade in the United Kingdom. Thanks to greater television coverage, sponsorship, and a more robust marketing scheme from the league, more Brits are being exposed to the NFL than ever before.
According to research, there are 13 million NFL fans in the U.K. with four million of that total described as “avid”, does that mean a team can be successful?
Many of the NFL’s viewers and those that go to live games at Wembley do so for the novelty of the big game. It doesn’t mean fans will come out for eight games a season, especially when games are played on back to back Sundays.
Will the NFL be financially viable?
Due to logistics, the NFL would need to play several London home games, while the team would need to be away in the United States for multiple weeks as this would be the only way the team would be financially viable.
The average NFL team is worth $2.57 billion therefore a London franchise wouldn’t fall into the financial difficulty if rugby’s Toronto Wolfpack had money issues after missing out on Super League promotion in 2018.
If an NFL London team does come into existence it won’t be long until the NHL, NBA, and MLB look to do the same. Would the Premier League finally play a 39th game in the U.S. if more American sports leagues play in London? London could soon be the biggest battle ground in sports.