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SBD Global/September 30, 2013/Events and Attractions

NFL Reports Half A Million Fans Attend Block Party On London's Regent Street Saturday

Fans pose for a photo Saturday on Regent Street in London.
More than "half a million people were drawn to the NFL Block Party" on London's Regent Street on Saturday afternoon, according to Henry Hodgson of NFL.com. London's "busiest shopping district" was closed down for the day to "play home to football fans celebrating before Sunday's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings." The "main attraction," though, was a stage upon which appeared a host of big-name talent from the Steelers and Vikings, including both teams' head coaches, likely future Hall of Famers in Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu of the Steelers, and Vikings players Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen. All of the players and coaches who appeared on stage exited "stunned by the level of support, as fans from across the world turned out to see them and cheer them on before the game." Pittsburgh cornerback Ike Taylor said, "Shout out to London" (NFL.com, 9/28). In London, Sunni Upal wrote that only "thousands of supporters gathered for a six-hour show." The event also featured "live music, interactive events and discount offers at participating Regent Street shops" (DAILY MAIL, 9/28).

LONDON QUESTIONS: CBS’s Jim Nantz said, “We’ve been coming to London for a long time ... and we’ve seen the game grow not only in popularity but in a whole lot of excitement too.” CBS’s Phil Simms: “It definitely has grown over here in London. The people are more excited about it" ("The NFL Today," CBS, 9/29). But Fox's Howie Long said, “I don’t know how you have a franchise there, I really don’t. How do you do that? Do you play four games in the states and you’re on the road for four weeks and then play four at home?” ("Fox NFL Sunday," Fox, 9/29). ESPN's Tom Waddle: "If ultimately the goal is to have an NFL franchise play eight home games overseas, that’s never going to work" ("Colin's New Football Show," ESPN2, 9/29).

LONDON LACKING COVERAGE: Despite the big fan turnout Saturday, coverage in the London papers was slim. The web sites of the Telegraph, Daily Mail and Guardian did not have any NFL-related stories on their main pages. The Sunday Times had no mention of the game on the cover of the sports section. The game did receive coverage in one clip on Page 13 of the sports section (THE DAILY).
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