The NFL recently announced that they would be playing three games next year in London, an increase from two this year, and from a single game in the past. This has spurred continued discussion about the possibility of an NFL franchise in London some day soon. Leading the charge in this effort, according to NYSportsJournalism.com, are sponsors, eager to gain entry to new markets in Europe by capitalizing on the global popularity of the NFL.
This comes as no surprise. Sponsorship is certainly a powerful force in sports and continues to grow year-over-year in sheer dollars being invested by corporations worldwide. As many have pointed out, the logistical issues of an NFL franchise oversees can certainly be overcome in this age of charter planes, bye weeks and creative scheduling. One questions whether the fans in London are ready to support their own team, versus the opportunity to see stars from around the league (yes, even 0-3 Minnesota v. 0-3 Pittsburgh included “Big Ben” Roethlisberger and Adrian Peterson on display). But, if there is sponsorship and television revenue to be had, it is certainly something worth attempting. Fan support can’t be worse than in some smaller NFL markets (no names here, but you know who you are).
Have a good weekend everyone, and enjoy your NFL games at “home” this week. The league heads back to London in two weeks, where fans will have a chance to see the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. And probably win.