Mark Waller: Government support in UK hugely important

Dallas Cowboys  v Jacksonville Jaguars , London

NFL Executive Vice-President International Mark Waller has told BritViewNFL that support from the British government is “hugely important” as the league looks to grow the sport of American football in the United Kingdom.

The NFL will play another three games in London in 2015 after a successful sold-out three-match series in 2014. During those games played last autumn, the NFL made headlines in the UK after Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne expressed very public support for the sport of American football.

Osborne offered government support to the NFL and got firmly behind the prospect of a London franchise when he revealed:

“I’ve said to the NFL that anything the government can do to make this happen, we will do because I think it would be a huge boost to London.”

Osborne and other government officials met with high-ranking NFL staff, including Waller. Osborne later tweeted:

“NFL games are benefiting our economy. Let’s work on having a team in London.”

Waller told BritViewNFL:

“That government support was very pleasing but, to be honest, not surprising. If you look at the fan popularity and what our fans are showing, the government is mirroring and reflecting that enthusiasm. We’re thrilled to have that support and it’s hugely important to know we’re welcome.

“It makes a difference. If you feel you’re knocking on an open and welcoming door, that’s much better than feeling like you have to push to get in. It is definitely encouraging and it also allows us to plan more strategically.”

With individual game and season tickets still on sale, Waller concluded by stressing how pleased the NFL has been with fan response to the International Series games being played at Wembley Stadium in 2015.

Waller said:

“We’re very encouraged by our season ticket sales this year. We have had a good increase on last year. It really shows the passion and commitment of the UK fan to see our games, regardless of which teams are playing. That is fantastic. We have really great and genuine fans of the game. The fans have shown this is not a novelty and they love the game.”

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