In 2016, the NFL announced its desire to have a league team based in London. Today is almost a reality
Professional sport is increasingly a business and increasingly global. We have already seen how the NBA and the MLB have played several official matches outside their borders. It is also a fact that the United States is getting closer and closer to traditional soccer. This can be seen with the celebration within its territory of the International Champions Cup, a luxurious preseason tournament in which the best clubs in Europe participate, and more recently with an agreement with the League of Spain also within its border areas.
Leer en español: Este es el proyecto de la NFL que es casi una realidad
But the business does not end there. Since 2007, the NFL celebrates games in London, an initiative that has been consolidated over time. According to ESPN, today 3 or 4 matches are played per season. In 2016, it announced its highest ambition: to have a team from the league based in the English capital. This is a project that seems to come closer and closer to reality and that can expand to other countries, since from 2018 until 2021 there will be an official match in Mexico City.
In fact, the NFL has contributed 10 million pounds to the arrangements for the new stadium of Tottenham Hotspur, the world's first football retractable field. This has various artificial surfaces that can be used for different purposes: Tottenham games in the Premier League, concerts and NFL games. Awesome! But it does not end there. The site also has dressing rooms and medical facilities of the NFL and even the view of the fans is great for the three different shows, described the sports channel.
In that sense, ESPN says, the business is that Tottenham and the league will divide the proceeds from the sale of tickets, food, beverages and official merchandise of the NFL matches that take place there. Mark Weller, executive vice president of international events for the NFL, was very clear about the calendar of three games this year, in consecutive weeks, in the English capital.
"This is another important year as we develop our plans for London and the UK. By playing games in three consecutive weeks we will learn a lot, both from fans buying tickets and attending games, and from a logistics and organizational standpoint," he said.
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Offers come and go
If it is not the NFL that achieves it, perhaps it is Shahid Khan, the popular tycoon, and owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL and the Fulham of the Premier League. In fact, Khan submitted a proposal to the English Football Association to acquire the Wembley Stadium. Don't forget that in this stadium the Jaguars has already played on other occasions and will continue to do so by an agreement signed until 2020, according to El Economista.
According to the media, Khan offered £ 600 million pounds (USD $ 840 million) for this stadium, which would continue to be the site of England National Team matches. What benefits would the English Federation obtain? Securing all rights for hospitality services for an approximate value of £ 300 million.
"The games that the Jaguars play at Wembley are essential to the financial stability of the Jaguars in Jacksonville, which is one of the smaller markets in the NFL, at a time when several NFL teams are more interested in this great city, "he told El Economista.
How is it doing in 2018?
According to ESPN, this season's calendar in London only saw three games in weeks 7, 8 and 9. In the first, the Seattle Seahawks beat the Oakland Raiders 27-3 in the new Tottenham stadium. Then, the Los Angeles Chargers did the same on the Tennessee Titans by 20-19. Finally, the Jacksonville Jaguars fell to current champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-18.
An anecdote that left this second game was what happened to the reporter Melissa Stark. While covering the game between Titans and Chargers, she had an incident that turned around the world and focused his eyes on the NFL in London, according to HSBNoticias.
"Nothing like live television ... I'm fine," the American journalist said on the air seconds after receiving a blow to the head. "Hurts more every time I watch it ... literally NEVER happened in 20 years covering the NFL ... London, I'll never forget you!" wrote Stark on her Twitter account.
Hurts more every time I watch it....literally NEVER happened in 20 years covering NFL ...London, I’ll never forget you!! @nflnetwork @NFL @NFLUK (in case ur wondering, I’m already off the injury report) pic.twitter.com/OsmB4wW0Jc— melissa stark (@melissastark) 21 de octubre de 2018
One of the main reasons why the NFL organization is more attracted to the aforementioned city is the high average attendance. This round by the 84,000 fans per game, superior even to the average in the games that are celebrated in the United States. Being very good, these reach 68,400 spectators, according to La Vanguardia.
According to the media, in the first four years of the agreement, from 2007 to 2010, the four games played exceeded the 80,000 fans barrier. The three most popular were:
- In 2009, in the Patriots-Buccaneers with 84,254 people
- In 2010, up to 83,941 in the Broncos-49ers
- In 2008, 83,226 in the Chargers vs Saints
Thus, the challenge will be to achieve a balance between the economic, show logistics and parity for all teams that have to go to play in London, for issues such as time difference. For now, these games of the regular round increase the fanaticism of the British for football.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
Translated from "Este es el proyecto de la NFL que es casi una realidad"
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