NFL Going Global

As far back as I can remember, the NFL has been at the pinnacle of American Sports. Their wealth, a reported annual income of over six billion dollars, coupled with their dominance of TV ratings and viewership, http://espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2012/story/_/id/8913211/2013-super-bowl-sets-overnight-ratings-record, has made football into its own religion here in the US. With sports supremacy conquered the home front; the NFL has been trying to expand its brand into untapped markets overseas. This past weekend the NFL played the first of two regular season games scheduled in London’s famed Wembley stadium.

At least one regular season game has been played across the pond since 2007 when the Miami Dolphins took on the New York Giants. The international series has proved to be wildly successful as the popularity of American Football in the UK and Europe is bigger than ever before. The demand for tickets has surpassed all expectations with over half a million people having applied for tickets for the 2013 NFL games.

With the demand for American Football in Europe being at an all-time high, there has been much speculation that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would try and base a franchise out of London. While a London team would inevitably make the NFL more money, there are a vast range of issues and factors that would come into consideration with this decision. The priority concern is that players absolutely detest the idea of living and playing in London full time. Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark even went as far as saying he would retire before suiting up for a London team. In a poll of ten current players only one was open to the idea of playing full time in London. The others were very skeptical about the idea of leaving or relocating their families to a place thousands of miles away http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/88870/would-players-be-willing-to-play-for-london-franchise.  While players are at the forefront of this discussion, it should also be noted that other hurdles (ie tax and labor laws) remain in the NFLs way of a fulltime move to London. While it may be in the best monetary interest of the NFL to expand into Europe, it doesn’t seem all to feasible in the near future. European fans will have to satisfy their craving for American Football with one or two regular season games a year. 

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