SBJ/Sept. 1-7, 2014/In Depth

Considering stadium options beyond Wembley

Wembley Stadium has hosted every NFL London regular-season game since the league started playing them in 2007, and is under contract to host through 2016.

However, there is no assurance the league will continue playing games there afterward, especially if the NFL dramatically increases the number of London games, or places a team in the city. NFL owners first need to extend their agreement to play London games past 2016.

“Clearly Wembley gives us some great options,” Chris Parsons, former NFL senior vice president of international, said shortly before he resigned last month. “At the same time Wembley also has England [soccer] games going on during the weeks we play. That is a challenge for us if we want to play more games, how we actually fit into the schedule.”

Twickenham (top), Cardiff City (center) and Olympic stadiums could be alternative sites for NFL games if a scheduling conflict arises at Wembley.Please enter image description here.
Photos by: Getty Images
Next year the Rugby World Cup occurs at the same time as the NFL season, which could create complications if the league wants more games at Wembley. Some World Cup games are at the venue, which is owned by the English Football Association.

Worries about such scheduling conflicts is partly why the league is having talks with other stadiums, including the Olympic Stadium, which English Premier League club West Ham will move into in 2016.

Wembley has all the accoutrements the NFL likes, such as wide concourses, suites, digital signage, giant video boards, and large locker rooms. The games sell out, and hospitality does well.

“NFL games have a good demand across all ticketing including hospitality,” said Chester King, CEO of Stoke Park, which manages the Bobby Moore Club at Wembley.

Hospitality packages for the upcoming International Series games are starting on Ticketmaster for $561, compared to a recent FA Cup final of $1,150, King said.

Whether such strong demand for the NFL can be sustained over a full regular-season home slate of eight games, or even just more than the three that will be played in the next two months, is a big unknown. Wembley has 90,000 seats (84,000 for NFL games), which would make it one of the largest stadiums in the NFL.

Alistair Kirkwood, the bullish managing director of NFL UK, is not concerned.

“I don’t think Wembley is too big, because this is a massive market, and I don’t think we have even scratched the surface of demand that could be out there,” he said. “It is viewed as the national stadium, but it is not in an ideal [location].”

Wembley is in far north London, about a 45-minute tube ride from the city center, which is not a big problem unless you imagine tens of thousands of fans crammed into the London Underground’s rather narrow tube cars for that amount of time.

Others have floated working with Tottenham Hotspur FC, which is building a new London stadium, and even Cardiff in Wales, which boasts a modern stadium.

“The longer-term solution is sharing with an EPL team,” said Grant Cornwall, chief executive of the Tottenham Hotspur’s foundation. Tottenham has said publicly it is not talking with the NFL.

Others wonder if the tribalism of EPL fans would hurt the NFL at a soccer stadium.

“If you played at Chelsea, you wouldn’t get Arsenal fans to come,” predicted Terry Byrne, a soccer marketer who once represented David Beckham.

Money, that's what I want

Comparing the costs of attending NFL games and Premier League matches during the 2013 season

National Football League

Team Name Avg. Ticket Avg. prem. Ticket Soft Drink Hot Dog Event Program
Arizona Cardinals* $79.56 $258.20 $3.50 $3.50 $3.00
Atlanta Falcons $83.71 $249.60 $6.50 $5.50 $0.00
Baltimore Ravens $100.19 $258.94 $7.50 $5.00 $0.00
Buffalo Bills $57.75 $201.68 $5.00 $5.50 $0.00
Carolina Panthers $66.84 $263.50 $3.00 $3.50 $0.00
Chicago Bears $103.60 $312.15 $5.00 $5.00 $5.00
Cincinnati Bengals $68.96 $195.03 $5.00 $4.75 $5.00
Cleveland Browns $54.20 $205.02 $4.25 $4.75 $3.00
Dallas Cowboys $110.20 $340.00 $5.00 $5.50 $10.00
Denver Broncos* $84.27 $293.56 $4.50 $5.00 $0.00
Detroit Lions* $67.60 $142.98 $5.00 $6.00 $0.00
Green Bay Packers $82.61 $249.65 $4.25 $5.50 $6.00
Houston Texans* $88.98 $260.17 $3.25 $5.00 $5.00
Indianapolis Colts $86.32 $164.00 $5.50 $5.25 $0.00
Jacksonville Jaguars $68.44 $232.09 $4.00 $5.00 $0.00
Kansas City Chiefs $64.92 $213.27 $4.50 $5.50 $0.00
Miami Dolphins* $71.14 $200.00 $4.00 $5.00 $5.00
Minnesota Vikings $78.69 $179.51 $4.50 $5.75 $5.00
New England Patriots* $117.84 $566.67 $4.00 $3.75 $5.00
New Orleans Saints* $74.99 $177.61 $4.50 $4.50 $5.00
New York Giants $111.69 $464.75 $3.00 $6.00 $5.00
New York Jets $110.28 $355.94 $3.00 $6.00 $10.00
Oakland Raiders* $64.80 $138.93 $4.50 $5.00 $5.00
Philadelphia Eagles $93.01 $210.15 $3.75 $5.00 $5.00
Pittsburgh Steelers $81.13 $230.68 $4.75 $4.75 $5.00
San Diego Chargers* $84.55 $170.00 $5.75 $6.00 $5.00
San Francisco 49ers $83.54 $275.00 $3.00 $5.50 $5.00
Seattle Seahawks $71.21 $171.41 $4.50 $5.75 $3.00
St. Louis Rams $74.49 $188.04 $5.00 $4.25 $5.00
Tampa Bay Buccaneers $63.59 $222.31 $4.25 $4.75 $0.00
Tennessee Titans $65.28 $165.08 $4.00 $4.00 $5.00
Washington Redskins* $94.80 $375.32 $5.00 $6.00 $5.00
NFL AVERAGE $81.54 $247.85 $4.48 $5.07 $3.71

Barclays Premier League

Team Most expensive Match-Day Ticket Cheapest Match-Day Ticket Tea Pie Program
Arsenal $166.59 $34.38 $2.64 $4.63 $4.63
Aston Villa $55.53 $30.41 $2.78 $4.36 $3.97
Cardiff $52.89 $26.44 $2.25 $4.50 $3.97
Chelsea $115.03 $47.60 $2.91 $5.02 $3.97
Crystal Palace $59.50 $33.05 $2.91 $5.29 $4.63
Everton $59.50 $42.31 $2.91 $3.97 $3.97
Fulham $99.16 $33.05 $2.51 $4.63 $4.63
Hull $46.28 $29.09 $2.64 $3.97 $3.97
Liverpool $68.75 $50.24 $3.17 $4.23 $3.97
Manchester City $76.69 $26.44 $2.38 $5.02 $3.97
Manchester United $70.07 $40.99 $3.31 $4.36 $3.97
Newcastle $68.75 $19.83 $2.91 $3.97 $3.97
Norwich $66.11 $26.44 $2.78 $4.63 $4.63
Southampton $66.11 $39.66 $2.64 $4.63 $3.97
Stoke $66.11 $33.05 $2.78 $3.70 $4.63
Sunderland $52.89 $33.05 $2.91 $3.83 $3.97
Swansea $59.50 $46.28 $2.64 $4.23 $3.97
Tottenham $107.09 $42.31 $2.64 $4.63 $4.63
West Brom $51.56 $33.05 $2.38 $3.83 $3.97
West Ham $88.58 $48.92 $2.64 $4.23 $4.63

Notes: Average ticket price represents a weighted average of season-ticket prices for general seating categories, determined by factoring the tickets in each price range as a percentage of the total number of seats in each stadium. Premium seating (tickets that come with at least one added amenity) are not included in the ticket average. Luxury suites are excluded from the survey.
*Prices for team were taken from team website and/or media reports, along with past Team Marketing Report research. Averages were calculated by Team Marketing Report.
1 Euro = $1.32, per conversion on XE.com on Sept. 1, 2013
Sources: September 2013 Team Marketing Report and 2013 BBC Price of Football study

Ticket to ride

For the three NFL International Series games this season at Wembley Stadium in London, ticket prices range from just under $24 (children 16 and younger) to almost $140 for a lower sideline seat, while a club ticket sells for $146 and hospitality tickets start at $437.

Ticket Category Price
Children's ticket (16 and younger) $23.28
Upper end zone $49.88
Upper sideline (rows 21+) $59.85
Lower end zone $86.45
Upper sideline (rows 1-20) $93.10
Lower sideline $139.65
Club $146.30
Premium club $198.17
Hospitality From $437.57
Thomson Sport hotel + ticket From $304.57

Note: 1 Euro = $1.33, per conversion on XE.com on Aug. 20, 2014.
Source: NFLUK.com


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