November 01, 2012

NFL eyeing bigger plans for London?: A year ago West Ham had the inside track to move into the Olympic Stadium after the Games but it's looking less and less likely, with the latest contender being American Football. London mayor Boris Johnson has launched talks with the NFL that could result in 10 games a season being held at the 80,000 seat stadium, which will already host two next season.

posted by billsaysthis to football at 11:53 AM - 22 comments

Getting the Jaguars as one of the main NFL participants in this London series will really test just how much the Brits take to American football. If they still want to go to games after seeing them for a few seasons the league should move a whole division there.

posted by dyams at 03:53 PM on November 01, 2012

They can have the Chefs as well. American sports don't have relegation, they just send the crappy teams overseas.

posted by yerfatma at 04:35 PM on November 01, 2012

Does anyone know if they're even considering the 2 bye week idea (same 16 game season but with 2 bye weeks)? I love this idea and think it would be especially useful if you have teams traveling to London.

posted by DudeDykstra at 10:39 PM on November 01, 2012

I hate bye weeks almost as much as I hate games played in London. And I have absolutely nothing against London.

posted by dyams at 10:48 PM on November 01, 2012

Why do you hate games in London? It's not as if most of us get to see them live even when they're in the US. The time differential is a problem if a west coast team is involved, but watching the Pats it was just another 1 pm game for me.

(also, it's an excuse to serve chicken tikka masala at the tailgate -- the English national dish!)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:44 AM on November 02, 2012

How many times does the NFL have to fail in Europe before we realize they care as much about our football as we care about theirs. Nfl Europe, World League, they all failed. I think they would have a beeter chance in Germany than London.

posted by Debo270 at 09:55 AM on November 02, 2012

It's not as if most of us get to see them live even when they're in the US


posted by yerfatma at 10:22 AM on November 02, 2012

Maybe move a franchise over there if they're going to schedule that many games per year at the stadium.

Not sure which franchise should go, but as a nod to the royal family, the coach should be someone with a thematically appropriate name.

Like Rex.

posted by beaverboard at 10:41 AM on November 02, 2012

It's not as if most of us get to see them live even when they're in the US


Unless you live in a city that has an NFL team, you don't get to see live games unless you travel. Still true in London.

Hell, unless you have a sports package, you don't get the full slate of games on cable. Which is still true if they play in London.

Saying you hate games in London is no different than saying you hate games in Kansas City; unless you're losing a live experience from a team moving, there's no real difference in terms of where they play. In a digital environment, football is football no matter where it's played.

posted by dfleming at 10:59 AM on November 02, 2012

Unless perhaps you believe your team enjoys a strong homefield advantage and that losing a home game (if that's the case) is a substantial loss.

posted by bender at 12:24 PM on November 02, 2012

I think that Londoners would not welcome the NFL. Any league that makes use of something called a "blitz" would certainly bring back memories of a rather horrific time of 70 years ago.

...we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be...

Winston Churchill, June 1940

posted by Howard_T at 03:00 PM on November 02, 2012

Not sure which franchise should go, but as a nod to the royal family, the coach should be someone with a thematically appropriate name.

Maybe we could send them the Kansas City Royals and see how long it takes them to realize it is not a football team.

posted by holden at 03:13 PM on November 02, 2012

Maybe the Royals would be competitive if they were playing cricket?

posted by bender at 03:44 PM on November 02, 2012

Any of our overseas friends have an opinion on this?
I didn't see the game this yr but if memory serves
it seems that they at least get close to a sell out.

could we send them the rouge skinned guys from dc?

posted by Folkways at 03:44 PM on November 02, 2012

The game will almost always sell out, because it's the only game in Europe and it's not difficult to get to London from France, Germany, Scandinvia and the like, so it's not hard to round up 80,000 fans.

There's a dedicated NFL fanbase in the UK. Each of my three closest friends there are NFL fans, (and were before I me them), and each has 20+ year affiliations with their favourite teams. However, I do think the NFL needs to stop sending the Patriots over, because 45-7/35-7 laughers probably aren't winning too many new fans.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 04:03 PM on November 02, 2012

Every fan of Family Guy can tell you that there is already a London team.

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:26 PM on November 02, 2012

The time difference is a big part of what bothers me. A sellout crowd is great, but one with no emotion is really boring. I suppose years from now the fanaticism could rival that of soccer, but I really doubt it. And it seems the weather always sucks, and that's from someone who attends games in Buffalo, for god's sake.

Maybe it's just that nagging feeling I have that screams the NFL is doing fine as it is, so why do they have to be consumed with it going global.

Oh yeah, greed. Duh.

posted by dyams at 04:51 PM on November 02, 2012

"How many times does the NFL have to fail in Europe before we realize they care as much about our football as we care about theirs."

False equivalence. There's very high TV ratings for the EPL in the USA; NBC just outbid Fox and ESPN for the rights. There's a bidding war for World Cup and other international TV rights, as well. I'm sure there's a healthy sub-culture of NFL fans in Europe, but there aren't multiple European TV networks getting into bidding wars with each other for NFL TV rights.

Meanwhile, domestically, MLS draws more per game on average than the NBA or NHL. Yes, MLS is still a long way from getting to NBA/NHL levels of gross revenue, but it is doing very well and growing nicely. Go watch some MLS matches on TV or the internet if you don't believe me. Pay attention to the big crowds in the newer MLS franchises like Seattle or Portland. Soccer definitely has earned a permanent place in the US sports scene (in fact it's been around since the 1880s but never managed to break into the big time permanently), whereas American gridiron football in Europe is still an oddity - difficult and expensive to play, too well adapted to TV to be much of a live experience for people who did not grow up in a gridiron culture, and with no organic gridiron culture of its own in Europe that is remotely comparable to the organic home-grown soccer culture here in the USA.

So please don't compare the plight of gridiron in Europe with the healthy state of soccer here in the USA. This claim is a little too much "false equivalence" supported by a rather outdated notion of the state of soccer in the USA.

posted by dave2007 at 09:34 PM on November 06, 2012

I think the real fan objection to playing NFL regular season games in London is that you are cheating home town fans and season ticket holders. There aren't that many home games as is, and sending your team to London means you have one less home game to go to.

posted by dave2007 at 09:37 PM on November 06, 2012

Well then I am sorry dave.

posted by Debo270 at 01:09 PM on November 07, 2012

Debo270, don't feel too bad, there are still a lot of your generation agreeing with you. But just like with dinosaurs, your demographic bulge is gradually and inevitably moving to extinction and being replaced by the younger one who grew up on MLS and other delicacies. Our local USL franchise averaged 8000 last season with a healthy dose of all-American types in attendance. The future for soccer and its culture is bright. At our business meetings most people already know what getting red-carded means, in a figurative sense of course.

posted by trueblueroo at 09:09 AM on November 12, 2012

It's getting weirder to see people make the argument that Americans don't care about soccer. There's so much evidence these days to the contrary.

posted by rcade at 10:26 AM on November 12, 2012

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