With the success of the NFL games in London, there has been some talk about placing an NFL franchise overseas. When asked about NFL expansion into Los Angeles or London, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made some interesting comments.
“I want both, but it doesn’t matter which one is first,” Goodell told a forum of European NFL fans, via Bill Williamson of ESPN.com.
“You are proving you are worthy of a franchise,” Goodell said of London fans.
San Francisco 49ers co-chair John York isn’t quite as confident. According to HJ Mai of SportsBusiness Global, York said an NFL team in London would be “sort of a shot in the dark.”
“We don’t know that there’s enough support for a team playing eight regular season games and two preseason games in London,” York said. “But we do know that we can play two and sell them out very quickly and have a lot of fan interest and growing interest.”
The English media barely covers the NFL game in the newspapers. The NFL was only aired on pay channels, but is returning to free TV.
“Free-to-air TV will raise the awareness of the NFL and increase fan avidity probably more than anything else,” York said. “This year for me, even though I’m over there every year, I’ve seen more interest in terms of sponsorship in the game and discussing how companies can be more involved in the NFL in London, and consumer products with jerseys and everything, the paraphernalia that people buy has increased tremendously.”
Two games is one thing, but eight games is another.