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SBD Global/July 15, 2014/Facilities

NFL Looks Beyond London's Wembley Stadium For Future Games In The U.K

The NFL "has begun meeting with potential alternative venues in London to Wembley Stadium, its host since the league began playing regular-season games there in 2007," according to Daniel Kaplan of the SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The NFL "is contracted to play at Wembley through 2016, and the talks with other parties, which sources said include English Premier League clubs and London’s Olympic Stadium, are at an early stage." The talks underscore that the NFL "is laying the groundwork for games beyond 2016, when the current ownership resolution approving the U.K. contests expires." NFL Senior VP/President of International Chris Parsons said, "The expectation is we will be playing games beyond 2016, and we need the flexibility to play those games where we want and when we want." The league "could stage the games in multiple venues if it brings over more games." Parsons "mentioned as theoretical options Twickenham Stadium, an 82,000-seat rugby venue outside of London, and the city’s Olympic Stadium." Other sources said that "talks have occurred with Tottenham Hotspur." A spokesperson for Tottenham "denied talks had occurred with the NFL." Terry Byrne, former business manager of David Beckham and currently part of a London-based group that owns Pelé’s marketing rights, said that the NFL "would be wise to stay at Wembley because more people attend simply because the games are there." The problem with playing in the home of an EPL team, he added, is that "fans of other soccer clubs might not want to go to that venue even to watch American football" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/14 issue).
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