While we are still awaiting the announcement of the teams competing at Wembley Stadium in 2015, the NFL has confirmed that three games will be played in London next season.
NFL UK Managing Director Alistair Kirkwood joined us on the sidelines on Sky Sports yesterday afternoon as the Detroit Lions produced a furious comeback to defeat the Atlanta Falcons by a 22-21 scoreline.
Responding to reports of five regular season games being played at Wembley in 2015, Kirkwood said:
“Those reports are not true. I can confirm that we will be playing three regular season games here next season and we are looking at staging two games back to back in successive weeks to test this support base.”
This is purely speculation at this point but I would have to think that back-to-back games would feature the same home team setting up base in the UK for a fortnight. I could be wrong, but I do think that would make the most sense and I do believe the Jacksonville Jaguars have an appetite to play more of their home games in London.
So if, purely for argument’s sake, the Jacksonville Jaguars were the home team for two of the games, the NFL would only need to find one more club willing to give up a home clash next season.
A number of teams have recently expressed an interest in being involved in the International Series, including the Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets and Green Bay Packers.
Two final thoughts on the NFL and Wembley from my point of view…
- The playing of three games in 2015 should not be viewed as stagnation in this market. There are stadium availability issues in play next year with the Rugby World Cup being played in the UK in the autumn. I think we will enjoy another three strongly-supported games in 2015 and increase the number in 2016. The NFL is not in a race to get to as high a figure as possible – they want to be strategic and know that when they reach a higher number of games, they will give those contests the best possible chance to succeed. That kind of strategic approach is to be applauded.
- As a parent who had his three young children watching Sunday’s game at Wembley Stadium, I loved the new lunchtime kick-off time and I hope the NFL are able to replicate that in the future.
Categories: The International Series