SBD/June 5, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Commissioner Goodell: League Wants Team Full-Time In London

Goodell (r) says the NFL is interested in expanding its list of London host stadiums
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday revealed that the league “will likely play as many as three regular-season games in London in the next few years with an eye -- despite the awkward logistics -- firmly on putting a team there full-time,” according to Bart Hubbuch of the N.Y. POST. Goodell at an NYU hospitality conference said, “Our thought is, it’s going to be London’s team.” He added, “The logistics we can work out because we only play once a week. We can deal with that. What we really want to understand is, can the market support a franchise long term there? The more we see, the more we like it.” The ’13 season marks the “first year the NFL is playing two games in London, and both games sold out in minutes.” That seemingly “insatiable desire for NFL football has sparked the league’s increased interest in holding more games and potentially moving a team there.” Goodell said that the Jaguars, scheduled to play a home game in London for the next four years, would be the league’s “top candidate to play host to two games per year if the NFL goes to a three-game package, although it would be the Jaguars’ choice.” Hubbuch noted Goodell “wouldn’t put a timetable on placing an actual franchise in London, although his excitement at the prospect was palpable.” Goodell also said that the NFL is “interested in expanding its list of London host stadiums in the wake of that city’s post-Olympic construction boom, most likely through teams” in the EPL (NYPOST.com, 6/4). YAHOO SPORTS’ Les Carpenter wrote Goodell’s comments “should be warnings to American fans who brush away talk of an international NFL,” as the league is “very serious about being overseas.” Carpenter wrote, “Change is coming to the NFL we know. The American game is about to be more than just an American game” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/4).

BRIDGING THE GAP: Goodell said, "If we go to three London games, what we'll likely do is ask Jacksonville [to] potentially play two or ask three different teams to host.'' But in Jacksonville, Vito Stellino noted it is “likely they will have to ask three different teams to host because the Jaguars have not indicated an interest in playing two.” A Jaguars spokesperson said, "Our focus is on the one game per year that we are committed to play there the next four years. That's all we're thinking about.'' Goodell “apparently didn't consult the Jaguars before publicly mentioning the possibility of them playing a second game” (JACKSONVILLE.com, 6/4).
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