London is calling, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is listening. Tomorrow, for the third year in a row, the NFL will hold a game at London’s Wembley Stadium. The New England Patriots will take to the field in Wembley to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wembley stadium sits around 90,000 fans, and the place will be packed for tomorrow’s game. This has led the NFL to plan for staging more games in the UK, and possibly even placing a NFL franchise there one day. The NFL is looking at venues in Manchester, and Glasgow, Scotland as the sites for future games.
It seems the league is prepared to hold at least two games a year in the United Kingdom. Along with the one Buffalo Bills game that will be held in Toronto, Canada each year the NFL is starting to have a very international feel. Of course NFL style football is nothing new to the UK. The Scottish Claymores played in the World League of American Football and later NFL Europe for close to ten years, and the London/English Monarchs played in both of those leagues a well.
Of course what is good for the NFL is not always good for its teams. For example The Patriots are losing a home game to play in London, and that could severely affect their balance sheet. Goodell would like to expand the current NFL season from 16 to 17 or 18 games and have each team play internationally each season.
If the league were to eventually move a franchise there, it would have to relocate one of its American teams there. There are a few possibilities there as the Jacksonville Jaguars are struggling to draw sell out crowds, the Oakland Raiders play in an old multi use facility, and the Minnesota Vikings could use a modern home.