Is there going to be a possibility of an NFL team in London? How popular is it here? What are the positives and negatives of having an American sports team in the UK? And more importantly, could it work? These questions have been pondered for the last five years, as the possibility of London possessing its own NFL team edges towards reality. The NFL has continued to grow in popularity over the past few years, with games played in London each year, and with every fixture that passes the dream continues to grow in stature.
The team would not be a newly formed organisation, but instead a team already in the league; they would be relocated with a new name, stadium and location. The team in question are the Jacksonville Jaguars. A great team with a great future ahead of them. This team has played in London many times and is always considered the home team when they play over here. It can’t be denied that the NFL has developed a huge fan base over here in the UK with American football teams based here in the UK (including our very own Portsmouth Destroyers, who are one of the best teams in the country by the way) along with The London Blitz and The Solent Thrashers. There is definitely a market here if a team was to relocate to London.
Another positive for a team to be based here is the revenue it would create. NFL games shown here in London are always sold out, developing copious amounts of capital for the sport, arena and organisation. If a team was to relocate here, it could really help generate money for the economy and lead the way for the UK to be seen as a potential Super Bowl location.
However, there are some negatives to bringing an NFL team over to London. One of them is the players; they are going to have to leave their whole life behind in America and be mainly based in London. This means their family will only get to see them during the summer and now and again during the season. They may move their immediate family to London, but what if the player gets traded? They then have to undo their whole relocation.
Another negative aspect of having a team in London, is the lack of a cult following that American teams already have. As teams are based in America, UK fan loyalty to a team is often based on players, philosophy and sometimes colour instead of hometowns. Unless there’s a majority of fans who would be happy to switch teams and would be willing to buy season tickets, there would be no point bringing a team over here.
In my opinion, I think bringing a team over here would be a great idea. As an ex-American football player myself, I enjoy watching the sport and would happily support a London team (as it’s also my hometown).