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SBD/October 25, 2013/Franchises
Matchups For '14 NFL U.K. Games Driven By Star Power, Entertainment Value
Published October 25, 2013
FINS TO THE LEFT: In Miami, Adam Beasley writes the Dolphins have been "largely an afterthought domestically as of late because of a string of losing seasons." But they have "built a lasting global fan base thanks to six trips beyond U.S. borders in the past 25 years." Dolphins Senior VP/Media Relations Harvey Greene said, “To this day, we still have a huge international following. We are one of the most popular international teams that there are. Not only in the U.K., but elsewhere internationally." The Dolphins last played in the U.K. in '07, played the Bills in Toronto in '08, and have "participated in four exhibition games outside the country" including London in '88, Tokyo in '91, Berlin in '92 and Mexico City in '97 (MIAMI HERALD, 10/25). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Joshua Robinson wrote despite the "mediocrity" of the Raiders and Dolphins, next year's game between the two "has plenty of potential to excite a British fan base that first started paying attention the NFL in the 1980s and early 1990s -- when those teams were actually competitive" (WSJ.com, 10/24).
COWBOY UP: ESPN.com's Michael DiRocco wrote under the header, "Cowboys At EverBank Would've Helped Jags." The Jaguars' '14 home schedule "includes several pretty good draws, but it could have been even better had the NFL not moved the premier game" against the Cowboys to the U.K. Playing a home game in London is "good for the Jaguars from a financial standpoint." The revenue they receive from ticket sales there "is more than what they'd receive from a home game because Wembley Stadium seats about 20,000 more fans," but the Jaguars "would rather have played the Cowboys" at EverBank Field. They could "certainly use an attendance boost" (ESPN.com, 10/24). Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said next year's U.K. game will be different than the team's '93 preseason game in London "because it's in the regular season and we're trying to get a feel for how it is to play over there, how it is to play a regular-season game, how it is relative to the fan base." He added, "It should be a real positive for our fans" (ESPN.com, 10/24).
NO PERMANENT MOVE COMING YET: The GUARDIAN’s Sean Ingle notes Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan “dismisses suggestions” that the team could move permanently to the U.K. Khan said, “It's very premature for any team to consider coming to London. Remember, this is the first year we have had two games at Wembley. But we have made a commitment. We are coming every year to 2016." Ingle notes playing a game in the U.K. the next four years gives the Jaguars “greater exposure than they would otherwise get back home,” and Khan believes he can “capture new fans in a growing UK market” (GUARDIAN, 10/25). ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure wrote a permanent NFL team in London "might not be an ideal move" because the travel would be "too grueling for an entire 16-game season, from both sides." A couple "showcase games per year should suffice." But the "more success the NFL has in London, the more commissioner Roger Goodell will mull the possibility of having an NFL team there to cater to the U.K. fan base" (ESPN.com, 10/24). The N.Y. Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano said, "I don't get the NFL's obsession with these overseas games, other than to make money, which is great. They enjoy making money, I understand that, but three games are far too many. If they're going to continue to do this they've got to do better than the Raiders and the Jaguars" ("Daily News Live," SNY, 10/24).