Saturday, August 31, 2013

Putting an NFL Team in London

Bill Barnwell of Grantland writes on the opportunities and challenges created by adding an NFL team in London. What I think is the key takeaway:
"There's also the distinct possibility that fans in Europe wouldn't back a London team. That 49ers-Broncos game was a jerseygasm of various teams and players from the past 20 years, but it certainly wasn't a game dominated by support for either of the two teams actually playing. The people heading to the games were fans of the NFL and a particular team within the NFL, not necessarily fans of one of the teams that was actually suiting up."
And that assumes that fans in Europe are even paying attention in the first place. For the people of London to actively support a team would at very least require an interest in the game itself. The English are very passionate about sports but with the Premier League, cricket, rugby, and F1 dominating the headlines, American Football is hardly followed or even well-understood.

The NFL is actively trying to promote itself in the UK to close this gap. But with Premier League matches on Sunday afternoons as well, I just can't see the public turning away from their own version of football for a foreign one.