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SBD Global/November 2, 2012/Facilities

The NFL, West Ham May Share London's Olympic Stadium

The London Olympic Stadium is still looking for a tenant.
EPL club West Ham United is "willing to share" the London Olympic Stadium with American football, according to Joe Ridge of the London DAILY MAIL. NFL franchises have held "encouraging" talks with Mayor Boris Johnson to become the "anchor tenants." The NFL interest was believed to "potentially scupper West Ham's ambitions," and it has put the club's "chances at risk." However, with the NFL only scheduling a maximum of ten games, West Ham is reportedly considering exploring "the prospect of working together." There may be issues with damage done to the playing surface, but West Ham is "confident they can make it work." Sources close to West Ham said: The club is open to all considerations. They remain positive and confident that a stadium built in east London should be used by a football club in east London" (DAILY MAIL, 11/1).

FOOTBALL FEVER: In London, Tom Hunt wrote that the NFL has enjoyed an "unprecedented surge in U.K. viewing figures, a 154% rise since '06, and multiple channels now showing live games throughout the week." However, the league currently "lies about seventh or eighth, alongside darts." Hunt goes on to write, "Leaving aside the obvious logistical difficulties briefly, would such a franchise or team really be a success or even sustainable on U.K. soil? The team would most likely be an expansion franchise. Meaning, most importantly, they would have to find players, and would be given special dispensation in the following draft of college players, but they would most probably struggle for the first 10 years or so and hence be difficult in terms of marketing and revenue." Although, as NFL Analyst Steve Wyche said, "If the monies flowing a teams going." The NFL "might just ignore the naysayers and follow the dollar signs." Hunt continued and said, "Having a London-based NFL team to cheer on would certainly be exciting. It would face tremendous difficulties, but the thought of a team with the Union Jack emblazoned upon it, running out in the ‘Greatest Showpiece on Earth’ should certainly have a number of U.K. NFL fans dreaming" (INDEPENDENT, 11/1).
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