A permanent residence? Fans weigh in on potential London NFL franchise

Usually awash with the white of Spurs, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was remodeled right into a rainbow sea of jerseys because the Atlanta Falcons beat the New York Jets final week, earlier than the Jacksonville Jaguars clinched a dramatic last-second victory to beat the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Now into their 14th yr of internet hosting duties because the first Worldwide Sequence sport at Wembley Stadium in 2007, London has lengthy been touted as a possible residence for a primary non-US franchise — both by way of the relocation of a longtime franchise or as a brand new growth group.

In the present day’s victorious house group the Jaguars — whose proprietor Shahid Khan has invested curiosity in London as proprietor of Fulham soccer membership — have dedicated to taking part in one abroad sport a yr because the designated “house” group and have subsequently been tipped as most definitely to make a transfer throughout the Atlantic.

Finally the choice will relaxation with the powers that be, however no person with a ticket to the London Video games over the past two weekends can doubt the dimensions of the UK’s NFL urge for food.

However what do UK soccer lovers take into consideration a possible London franchise? CNN Sport spoke to followers to seek out out.

A general view during the NFL London match between Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Planning ache

Logistics, logistics, logistics — there was a working theme within the responses.

“For brand spanking new followers — perhaps. For present followers — completely not,” mentioned Cleveland Browns fan Tom Middleton when requested concerning the prospect of a London franchise.

“Logistically I can not see it being possible on account of fixed journey and having to pack up tens of millions of {dollars}’ value of kit on every week’s discover. One sport a yr in London or Mexico for 4 to 6 groups a yr is a job value doing, merely for publicity.

“Absolutely a London group would want to get to and from the US and UK each different week? Their fan base might be missing at each ends — US followers are unlikely to begin supporting a brand new group, not to mention a UK group, and plenty of UK followers have already got allegiances or don’t possess an curiosity within the sport.

“For my part, the formation of an NFL group goes to be tougher than some other sport. You’ve got already bought 53-strong rosters of “first group gamers”, however add within the want for follow squads, certified and skilled coaches, services — it’s a large ask.”

Simply this week, the NFL reiterated its stance on selling its world attraction, saying it was in discussions with three German cities — Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich — about internet hosting common season video games.

“I really need it to be a good suggestion, however there are logistical points,” mentioned Andrew Gamble, founding father of NBA and NFL podcast the British Playbook, exterior of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

“I feel help is promising however I am involved about whether or not the novelty will put on off, significantly as a London group wouldn’t be aggressive for the primary few seasons — even with compensatory draft picks,” he added.

Fans arrive ahead of the NFL match between Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars.


England sports activities fanbases are infamous for his or her diehard loyalty to their groups — an unconditional allegiance no higher illustrated than by way of Gamble and Middleton, two “long-suffering” Arsenal followers.

A look across the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and its technicolor array of jerseys this weekend would recommend many UK followers have already sworn their NFL loyalties; would a brand new “native” group tempt them to modify sides?

“Completely not,” Middleton mentioned.

“I’m absolutely invested within the Browns and their gamers — I can not think about the thought of a brand new group wanting me to vary allegiance from the final 4-5 years of being concerned within the sport.

“I really feel as if my dedication to the NFL group is just barely much less sturdy than my allegiance to Arsenal, whom I’ve supported my whole life.

“Nevertheless, I’d say the thought of a London NFL group jogs my memory of Purple Bull Leipzig within the Bundesliga — their formation generated an unbelievable quantity of backlash and disgust however you look now at their video games with full attendance and so they’ve clearly shaped a fan base out of their success.

“Whether or not or not a London group can replicate that within the NFL can be attention-grabbing.”

Gamble was extra welcoming, however likewise mentioned he would by no means divert from his old flame.

“I’d completely help a London group, get season ticket, the works — but when they play the Patriots, I do know who I am backing,” he mentioned.

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