As you will be well aware by now, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is firmly behind the idea of an NFL franchise being placed in London in the not-so-distant future.
Goodell has often spoken about a team being placed in the United Kingdom and has been a passionate supporter of more games being played in London, which is a major reason why three regular season contests will be played on our shores this coming season.
In an interview with Alex Flanagan of the NFL Network, Goodell said:
“We couldn’t be happier with what we’re seeing. Number one, we’re responding to fan interest. The fans want to see more NFL football and they want the real thing.”
Goodell cited the need for continued growth in the United Kingdom through expanded television programming, as well as other areas of the league’s international business such as licensing and sponsorship.
The Commissioner stressed:
“If we continue to see growth, we could have a franchise in London. It’s not something that is 15 or 20 years away, it could be five or 10 years away.”
Having a timetable placed on the franchise discussions certainly makes the whole thing feel very real indeed. And logistics are certainly not about to scare the NFL away from the UK market.
“Our clubs have responded very favourably and they have enjoyed the experience.”
Die-hard NFL fans who have followed the sport in the UK for a considerable time will undoubtedly point to the fact they already support an NFL team. I personally don’t believe that means a switch of allegiance is out of the question and new fans are coming into the game all the time.
There are a wide range of issues that would need to be tackled before London has a team it can call its own, but this fact remains: the NFL fan in the United Kingdom has never had it so good and things are about to get even better as the league looks to make an even bigger impact in this country in the next few years.
While a London franchise is not a done deal just yet, the fact that London remains right at the heart of the NFL’s international plans is cause for celebration.