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Old 11-04-2010, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Manila
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Last Sunday, the NFL (under Roger Goddell) has again staged a season game in Wembley for the fourth time (this year was between the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos) in a bid to "grow the game" internationally and make it ripe enough so they can expand abroad with London possibly being a first step which means the kind of franchise they have in mind for London is NOT a NFL-Europe minor league style team but a FULL-FLEDGED NFL TEAM!

Of course ALOT of stateside fans of the game think the expansion (some go as far as criticizing the fact that they even hold season games abroad) is a BAD IDEA! I kinda agree too with the fans in the USA but I'm NOT SURE what you LOCAL Londoners think of that idea. While its true that the games have practically all SOLD OUT in terms of ticket sales, I am inclined to believe its most likely due to the novelty factor or because of the homesick North American expats living in the UK or in other parts of Europe. I for one am not sure if the market can sustain a professional American Football team that plays 8 times a year in a market where Football (Soccer), Rugby and Cricket rule the roost and have FAR DEEPER roots in British society than American Football ever had or could potentially have!

Before you go on commenting on this issue and start debating about whether its sustainable or something that can hold its own both in fan popularity, press coverage, merchandise sales, and TV ratings against the traditional trifecta of British sports or not, perhaps you guys should read this article I quoted below first (linkie: Roger Goodell supports European expansion for NFL - NFL News - FOX Sports on MSN)

Quote:
Goodell supports European expansion
Updated Oct 29, 2010 3:00 PM ET

LONDON (AP) - Football is in the land of futbol to stay — and with an even bigger presence if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has his way.

When the San Francisco 49ers take on the Denver Broncos at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, they'll be the latest teams that went across the Atlantic to do their part in helping the league grow its international fan base.

And despite the long travels and disrupted team schedules such a trip brings, the NFL is charging ahead with plans to increase the number of games it plays overseas.

This Sunday marks the fourth regular-season game to be played in London, and Goodell said the success of the previous three sellouts has buoyed his hopes to succeed with his ultimate expansion goal — having a full-time franchise in London.

''Each year, the different barometers indicate that our popularity continues to rise,'' Goodell said at an annual sports conference the NFL organizes together with The Economist magazine in London. ''I think the next step will be multiple games (in Europe). And if that's successful then I think the idea of a franchise here is realistic.''

He just has to get the players and teams on board first, which may not be all that difficult.

Like the teams that came before them, the Niners and Broncos have only had good things to say about their trans-Atlantic trip — focusing more on the team-building opportunities than the jet lag and time spent away from home.

''I've never been out of the country, so this is definitely a good experience and opportunity,'' Niners cornerback Nate Clements said. ''And I look to take advantage of this and make the most of it.''

Of course, it's not exactly easy to bring the full NFL circus abroad.

Traveling logistics are one of the biggest challenges for teams coming over for games, highlighted by the Niners (1-6) and Broncos (2-5) choosing drastically different strategies for how to approach Sunday's matchup.

San Francisco arrived on Monday and has spent the week in a five-star hotel in the countryside outside London, getting adjusted to the time difference and practicing on a field with the same wet and slippery conditions expected at Wembley.

The Broncos, meanwhile, chose to stay home longer and only arrived Friday.

''Everyone was kind of like walking zombies off of the flight,'' Broncos offensive lineman Chris Kuper said. ''Once we catch up on sleep we should be fine. We got two days to catch up on sleep.''

The Niners have the added disadvantage of being listed as the home team, meaning they get one less game to play in San Francisco. But with the city turning the spotlight to the Giants playing in the World Series, it's not a bad time for the struggling football team to explore new surroundings.

''When you look at where we are right now as a team, it is nice to be able to get away and come here, and be able to sort of regroup as a team internally,'' head coach Mike Singletary said.

Goodell acknowledged it's ''painful'' for teams to give up a home game, and said that's one of the reasons the NFL is considering expanding its regular season schedule to 18 games. That would let teams have eight home games even if they go abroad.

Sending teams so far to play in front of foreigners may seem extreme, but Goodell insists it's the best way to connect with international fans — especially because most of them never have a chance to play the sport themselves.

''That is one of our challenges, how do we promote a sport that is not played by the youth in each of those markets?'' he said. ''But I think that's where media and bringing our game to those markets meets those challenges. We've seen it here in this marketplace, we've seen it in Japan, Mexico and Canada.''

Goodell would not give any hints about a timeline for putting a team in London, ''other than as fast as is practical.''

''Once we've got the logistics, which I think we have, then it's just a question of the growth of the marketplace,'' Goodell said. ''And that's where we believe playing multiple games will demonstrate that there is a strong foundation for American football. Fans want to see it, there are partners that will support it. ... And when you can get to that point, I think you've given yourself a great deal of confidence that a franchise here would be successful.''

So would players be willing to come play for a team based in England? Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton thinks so.

''London is a great place because you're going to have to find a combination of a city where people want to live and play for that team and I think this would be a great choice,'' Orton said. ''You've got to find a city that you can get 53 guys that kind of want to live over here. London's a great city and I think you'd have a lot of interest from players.''
Can't wait to hear the Brits opinions on this matter! So any opinion/input on this from local Londoners and other Brits is welcome!

Last edited by mrconfusion87; 11-04-2010 at 11:43 AM..
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Yorkshire, England
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I can't see it ever taking off here. Logistics for visiting teams/our away games is one big factor, but there's just not the supporter base for NFL here for eight games a year. The NFL Europe didn't work, I only know one British person who's ever played American football, other games are on at awkward times for us (Superbowl finishes at about 4am on a work night), people who'd support NFL in the US would support rugby here, Wembley might not necessarily be available all the days they'd want, and when I've watched it it seemed too slow and too confusing (we get the American commentary who assume we already know the rules) and like you said, our own sports are so well established with traditions going back to the 1800s.
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:18 PM
 
Location: The Silver State (from the UK)
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I love the NFL and have been to the last 3 games at Wembley, but I don't think a franchise being based in the UK will work. The games do sell out, but this is to die hard British NFL fans who come to Wembley because it may be their only chance to see a live game. Everyone wears the colours of the team they support, but if there was one franchise here I don't think it would get anywhere near that level of support. Its great to see because the people that live here that are into it are into it big time.. no middle ground here, you either follow it and love it, or have no time for it!!

The biggest obstacle to promoting the NFL is the fact that it stops and starts so much. People here expect it to be like rugby or soccer, and when they see that it isn't they turn over. It is actually more like cricket, in terms of being about strategy and tactics - which is what is so great about it once you get it. The other thing is that its hard to follow or support a team if nobody else around you does either i.e no banter or competitive spirit etc.

I also go the watch the England team at Twickenham several times a year, and other live sports here, none of watch even come close to the entertainment that the NFL puts on at Wembley.. but nonetheless, I don't see it working here in the long term.
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Yorkshire, England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian6479 View Post
Its great to see because the people that live here that are into it are into it big time.. no middle ground here, you either follow it and love it, or have no time for it!!
Exactly, you do get a few diehards who are happy to stay up all night to watch the game but the vast majority didn't even know about the match last week and all they could tell you about the sport is big padding, razzmatazz, the Janet Jackson incident and reams of statistics that mean nothing unless you're properly educated in the sport. I consider myself a sports fan but I couldn't tell you if we even have a domestic American football league in this country. Another drawback is that there are few or no British NFL players for us to identify with.
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:38 PM
 
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Who would a London based NFL team play? If it was other North American teams then they would get little traction because no-one outside the London area would be interested and even Londoners could not get excited about a rivalry between a London based team and the Chicago Bears (for example).

Soccer is the main sport in the UK and it feeds on local rivalries and tribalism. The NFL does not offer that. Certainly, London is a big market in its own right but you would not be growing the sport in the UK. It would be a curiosity but not much more.
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:00 PM
 
Location: England
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There may be entertainment around an NFL game, but there's very little action on the pitch.
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:38 PM
 
Location: England.
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This discussion has come up a couple of times before:

https://www.city-data.com/forum/londo...e-wembley.html

https://www.city-data.com/forum/londo...ay-locate.html

A couple of the chaps at work had a brief phase of staying up to watch the Superbowl, but then got bored with it and only ever talk about the soccer team they grew up with. There simply is not the grassroots infrastructure to sustain a professional team beyond a season or two of media hype.
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:48 PM
 
14,247 posts, read 17,919,186 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albion View Post
There may be entertainment around an NFL game, but there's very little action on the pitch.
That is by design. That gives you more time to go to the bar for a beer, buy another burger or hot dog or visit the merchandise shop. The NFL is built around maximising consumption, not sport. There are interruptions in play specially designed to allow adverts to be played on TV for those watching at home.
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:24 PM
 
Location: The Silver State (from the UK)
4,664 posts, read 8,241,315 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albion View Post
There may be entertainment around an NFL game, but there's very little action on the pitch.


There is very little action compared to the amount of time the game lasts for - this is true of a lot of sports.. take cricket, snooker, darts, athletics etc etc but these sports are popular. The NFL is about strategy, and the careful execution of specifically designed short plays. The athleticism is almost unmatched in any other sport.

You actually have to make an effort to get into it, and appreciate it if it isn't part of the culture you grow up in. This is the same reason that soccer will never be popular in the states - they see it as boring, and weak compared to the big American sports because it is judged by different standards of what is interesting in sport and what is not.

Every player in an NFL team has a very specific job to do - and they do it with a lot of skill and precision. If they don't perform the team suffers and they are in danger of losing their place in the team. Another interesting thing is the draft which maintains a competitive balance, unlike our football where the top 5 or 6 clubs have all the money and can buy the best players and the bottom teams face insolvency.
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:36 PM
 
Location: Yorkshire, England
5,586 posts, read 10,651,608 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian6479 View Post
There is very little action compared to the amount of time the game lasts for - this is true of a lot of sports.. take cricket, snooker, darts, athletics etc etc but these sports are popular. The NFL is about strategy, and the careful execution of specifically designed short plays. The athleticism is almost unmatched in any other sport.

You actually have to make an effort to get into it, and appreciate it if it isn't part of the culture you grow up in. This is the same reason that soccer will never be popular in the states - they see it as boring, and weak compared to the big American sports because it is judged by different standards of what is interesting in sport and what is not.

Every player in an NFL team has a very specific job to do - and they do it with a lot of skill and precision. If they don't perform the team suffers and they are in danger of losing their place in the team. Another interesting thing is the draft which maintains a competitive balance, unlike our football where the top 5 or 6 clubs have all the money and can buy the best players and the bottom teams face insolvency.
I've never really got into American football but is it really that athletic compared to football or rugby? If some of the players are 50-80lbs bigger than, say, prop forwards in rugby then they'd be stronger, yes, are they really fitter all-round athletes than players who need to run around almost continuously for 80-90 minutes? I don't know the positions but some players seem to basically act as battering rams and then have five minutes to recover between plays. Maybe I don't get it but some positions seem more about brute force than anything in our sports.
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