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SBD Global/October 29, 2012/Events and Attractions
Long-Term London Plans Could Include Three Regular-Season NFL Games
Published October 29, 2012
LONDON AHEAD OF L.A.:? Speaking at the forum, Goodell sounded more optimistic and enthusiastic about placing a franchise in London than he did about having one in L.A. "We believe that’s our best chance for success, so that is why we are playing there ... multiple games,” Goodell said of London. “And I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see us have a team there. … We might be willing to take a shot at it.” On L.A., Goodell commented, “It is all focused on getting the right kind of stadium situation.” The Rams and Raiders relocated from L.A. after the '94 season, and the league since then has struggled to find the right proposal to return.
TWO MORE ON TAP: In London, Mark Cue reports that London Mayor Boris Johnson has confirmed that Wembley Stadium will host two regular-season NFL games for the first time next year. The Minnesota Vikings will play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 29, and the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers will play on Oct. 27. Johnson says the games will boost the London economy "by somewhere in the region of £22 million," but more important, the mayor "hopes that the matches will bolster the capital’s reputation as a magnet for international sport following the successful staging of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics." Johnson: “London has staged an extraordinary year of sport and I want to ensure this is a springboard for even more world class sports spectaculars in the future” (LONDON TIMES, 10/29).
WHERE'S THE BUZZ?: With the Patriots-Rams game Sunday at Wembley Stadium, there was scant coverage of the game in the London daily papers this weekend. The GUARDIAN has a primer on the NFL’s progress in the market under the header, “Razzle Meets Dazzle As NFL Comes Out Of The Shadows In The UK” (GUARDIAN, 10/27). It is “unfortunate for the NFL” that the game “will clash with the highly anticipated” ManU-Chelsea match (ESPNBOSTON.com, 10/26). In Boston, Christopher Gasper wrote on Saturday there “was not a great deal of buzz” in London about the game (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/26).
KRAFT IN FAVOR: NESN.com reported that Patriots Owner Robert Kraft said that it is "time to add one more sport" in the U.K. At an NFL FanFest event in Trafalgar Square, Kraft said, "You're already hosting the Premier League, and we believe we're the premier sport in the world. I think London has shown, with the way they've handled the Olympics and every other major sporting event, that it's time for you to have your own NFL franchise, based in London." He also had "interesting thoughts" about who the London crowds would root for. Kraft said, "These people out here make us feel that this is a home game -- New England is coming back to England" (NESN.com, 10/27).