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SBD/September 13, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Decision To Add Second NFL Game In London Based On Sizable Growth Of U.K. Fan Base
Published September 13, 2013
ROOM FOR GROWTH ACROSS THE CONTINENT: Rankin noted room for growth exists across Europe, as the NFL is behind other sports that have long been invested in the continent. “We’re not number one, so it’s always a challenge to make sure you’re getting that media coverage that you want. Not just from the two games that are being played, but all year round.” But she pointed out that since the first Int'l Series game in the U.K., viewership has increased nearly 40%. She added of an additional challenge, “We’re trying to get people to understand the sport. It’s a lot about just education.” Outside of London, Rankin notes the next largest international fan bases are in Canada and Mexico. But she stressed the league currently is “focused on the U.K.” Rankin highlighted why the U.K. is ripe for NFL involvement: “There’s a great appreciation for American sports over there. I think we’ve done a great job of marketing the sport. They’re familiar with American football coming over from the ‘80s and ‘90s from our NFL Europe days, so it’s not a completely new concept to them. And the London Monarchs did quite well in their day, so it’s kind of bringing that back.” Moving forward, Rankin notes her department will focus on evaluating the decision to add a second game this year in London, analyze the impact of the Jaguars playing over four seasons and explore other U.K. venues in which to play.