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SBD Global/September 25, 2013/Facilities

FA Officials Say Wembley Could Host Prospective London-Based NFL Franchise

FA senior figures said that London's Wembley Stadium "is willing and able to host any prospective London-based NFL franchise, and could do so alongside the 'priority' demands of football," according to Robin Scott-Elliot of the London INDEPENDENT. On Sunday, the stadium "will host the first of two NFL games this season, when the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Minnesota Vikings in front of a full house." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "has become increasingly keen on establishing a franchise in London, having been impressed by the success of the one-off matches staged there." Wembley Managing Dir Roger Maslin insisted that Sunday’s match "would leave no mark on the playing surface ahead of England’s decisive World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland next month, and nor would it be an issue should American football be played every second week during the season." Maslin: "We have no qualms whatsoever about delivering a fantastic surface for England. We would be very happy to facilitate NFL at Wembley. We can hold games every couple of weeks, absolutely" (INDEPENDENT, 9/24). The AP reported NFL Int'l SVP Chris Parsons said that "the 'core fan base' in the U.K. is now more than 2 million." That is "more than double the figure when the league first brought regular-season games to Wembley in 2007, but still not high enough for a franchise here to be sustainable." Parsons: "We've doubled our fan base in the last three and-a-half to four years. I'd like to see that at least double again in the next three or four years. That would put us among the top five sports in the U.K. in terms of core fan base" (AP, 9/24).
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