SBD/October 6, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL London Game Unlikely To Sellout For First Time At Wembley Stadium

The NFL’s Bears-Buccaneers game in London on Oct. 23 is “unlikely to be played before a sell-out Wembley crowd,” according to Ian Shoesmith of BBC SPORT. Previous games “have always sold out,” but NFL U.K. Managing Dir Alistair Kirkwood said this year’s game is expected to draw attendance in the "mid-70,000s." Still, the NFL is “considering adding a second UK game in coming seasons.” Kirkwood said that “a number of factors were responsible for this year's game not selling out.” He said that “perhaps the biggest reason” was the NFL lockout, which “threatened the entire 2011 season before finally being resolved during the summer.” The labor dispute meant tickets for the Int'l Series game went on sale Sept. 11, "many months later than in previous years.” Tickets for the game start at US$46, but “the majority are priced considerably higher which could also have played a part in slower sales.” Kirkwood: "I'm going to review absolutely everything that we've done." Meanwhile, Shoesmith noted a British franchise “has long been rumoured and Kirkwood is open to the idea of one being created at a future point" (BBC.co.uk, 10/5).

SUPER ACCESS: The NFL announced yesterday that fans will have the opportunity to gain access into behind-the-scenes dealings of Super Bowl XLVI with special tours of Lucas Oil Stadium and the Super Bowl Media Center. The league for the first time will allow more than 5,000 fans to attend Super Bowl Media Day on Jan. 31. Super Bowl tours will run from Jan. 23-Feb. 7, with tickets available for purchase through Ticketmaster and the Lucas Oil Stadium box office in early December. Fans will have free behind-the-scenes access to portions of the Media Center located on the 3rd floor of the JW Marriott (NFL). In Indianapolis, Amy Bartner notes the NFL also has “added 500 customer service staff members to help people around the stadium with directions and questions to make the experience better for out-of-towners” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 10/6).
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