A franchise in the UK has been talked about in the past but with three regular season games coming to these shores next season, the chatter has got louder and more serious.
It’s not hard to see why the NFL are at least considering the idea. Even with the extra game this year, both sold out in quick succession and with other teams struggling to pull in that kind of attendances it makes sense for them to explore different opportunities.
Teams like Jacksonville, Tampa and San Diego regularly struggle to sell enough to lift the blackout rules and with games in high demand at Wembley, it’s a viable idea to the NFL to set up a team here. But there is many hurdles to be jumped before the idea could even be possible and even then, does the UK really want an NFL franchise
One of the main arguments against from America’s standpoint is that flights to and from London will be the biggest burden. It’s not so bad for a team to come to them once a year, but eight transatlantic flights a season at least would be unfair both to the players and the competitiveness of the team.
Expecting rookies, who would have graduated from American universities, to make the move to another country is also a big ask, having not only to adjust to the NFL but a completely new culture away from their families.
Then there’s the issue of actually filling the stadium eight times a year, because it’s probably not as simple as the NFL think. Many fans of all teams make the trip as a special occasion, to expect sell-outs at every game might be a stretch and even if they did, there would be a big expectation that the away side would have as much support as the home team.
Which leads into another issue; most UK-based NFL fans already have a team. Why would some switch to a likely bad team, at least for the first few years, just because they are from the same place as them? More to the point, would it be expected for some who have supported their team for years to just change?
I think most NFL fans here would either like to keep things as they are or look to expanding Gridiron football in the country to improve our own league. It might be small, but with added NFL help it could slowly grow into something bigger, which overall would be good for everyone.
It comes to the argument of whether you’d like a Premier League club to move stateside. It’s a bit of a logistics nightmare and whilst fans over there would enjoy it, it takes something away from over here. It may come true in the future, but if it does it might be a detriment to the game both here and back in the US