NFL U.K.'s Kirkwood Says London Could Soon Host Franchise
NFL U.K. Managing Dir Alistair Kirkwood said that the sport's global expansion plans are "slowly ticking all the right boxes," and American football could be "one step closer" to putting a franchise in London, according to Mark Pangallo of REUTERS. Kirkwood and his NFL U.K. staff have helped turn the sport's Int'l Series, which began in '07, into "a roaring success" that sells out Wembley Stadium each year. Kirkwood: "What this now does is allow us to test if we can bring in more new fans and boost a single team recognition. Once that period has come up we will then have learnt an awful lot about it and know what the viability for us going forward is and then be in a great position to make a call (on a London franchise)." The annual NFL game in London has "boosted the NFL's profile across Europe." The inaugural game between the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins injected an estimated £23M ($36.7M) into London's economy. According to NFL U.K. there are 2 million British fans and TV ratings for American football games shown on Sundays have increased by 154% since '07 (REUTERS, 8/23).