London’s Wembley Stadium has seen a great increase of NFL games in recent times, which lead to the possible idea of establishing viable sports market in the UK.
Football, or soccer as some may call it, is one of the biggest sports on the planet, while in the UK it maintains a special relationship with millions of adoring fans. The Premier League is the most popular and competitive league in Europe, and arguably the world, so fans do not generally lack for another sport other than football that they want to devote themselves to.
However, in recent times another popular sport is trying to establish its presence on the British shores. American football, or commonly known as the NFL (National Football League), has been gaining great support on the British Isles. The UK is the main target market for now, but it may serve as an important conduit to expand further in the European market.
London is viewed as the ideal staring place
Over the past few years, some big teams from the NFL have played several matches at the Wembley Stadium in London. The crowds gathered at the games were initially small but steadily grew and managed to attract a great deal of numbers to the unique NFL matches. Now the American league is exploring options of hosting far more than just a few games.
• UK may prove important as way to expand further across Europe
• London’s Wembley went from hosting one game per year to three per year
• Now defunct NFL Europa lasted for 16 years on the continent
The NFL is flirting with the idea of basing a team in the UK for the full length of the season, however some online sportsbooks in the UK have voices their concerns about proceeding with such a plan. They have expressed reservations about the potential problems associated with logistics and immense financial investments among other relevant questions.
Nevertheless, the leadership in charge of the NFL remain adamant that such an ambitious plan could actually work if all the right elements fall in place. The main reason behind the massive undertaking has to do with increasing the NFL’s reach. The possible revenues that could be generated through a single European country are limitless, while attaining the support from an audience of over 700 million Europeans would secure the league’s future.
International TV agreements, endorsement deals and many other lucrative marketing partnerships would help the NFL reach its goal of becoming a real global phenomenon. London would serve as an important springboard which would help attract the necessary audience and viewership that would make it into a serious sporting contender.
The main questions that the NFL chiefs are asking themselves is if the UK can actually host the franchise throughout the season. It is a well-known fact that NFL is big on showmanship and appealing a great deal to their US fan base with interesting side aspects. So another concern would be if the UK is actually capable of putting on a show that so many fans want to see.
NFL’s European history
Despite being in its infant stage it is believed that the NFL could become a serious sport in the UK, as many fans have already shown a significant amount of interest in the franchise. Gambling news reports that the NFL had a league in Europe that starched for a total of 16 years, however the standard of the game was never deemed high enough for it to sustain.
It was called NFL Europa and started in 1991 and lasted all the way up to 2007. It featured teams that were located in the biggest European cities like: Barcelona, London and Edinburgh. However, the franchise was viewed as a poor league that could in way compete with the established sports already present across the continent. It also lacked considerable financial investments which eventually led to its degradation and made it less appealing.
Wembley Stadium has hosted quite an increased number of NFL games in recent times which quickly led to its rise as a possible sport that could not only survive but more importantly thrive in a foreign market. Initially, the heads of the American league agreed to have one game per year played at Wembley, but soon that number has graduated into three matches annually where all of the seats were sold out, according to mobile betting sites.