Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown has issued strong support for the NFL’s international growth and insists a London franchise will be in place “sooner than most people think.”
Speaking at the NFL’s Annual Meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, Brown spoke about the NFL’s “amazing growth” ahead of his team’s ‘home’ clash with the Washington Redskins at Wembley Stadium on Sunday October 30.
“The NFL has had this amazing growth that we’re all aware of and I think it’s going to continue. One of the areas of growth that is open to us is to what degree can we take the game international? We play American football here in America. They don’t play it in London, they don’t play it in Beijing. Will it be accepted there?”
We’ll forgive Mr Brown for his lack of appreciation for the many thousands of amateur American football players in the UK given that he is being so positive about our market and British NFL fans!
“So far, it seems to have been accepted in London when we go there. We have done more than just a simple one-time sample. We’ve gone there year after year after year and they sell out those games ‘bang’ like that. The TV audiences are growing almost annually.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. I think it is going to happen. I don’t know when and I don’t really know how. But do I think there will be an NFL team in London some day? I think there will be and my hunch is that it will be sooner than most people think.”
Brown is not the first NFL owner to agree to such a line of thought. I have also been told the very same thing by Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys), Woody Johnson (New York Jets) and Robert Kraft (New England Patriots).
With such powerful support in place, the future of the NFL in the UK certainly looks very bright indeed, particularly now the league’s thorny Los Angeles issue has been put to bed.