NFL U.K. Director Says Expansion Team Could Be In London By End Of Decade
NFL U.K. Managing Dir Alistair Kirkwood said that Wembley Stadium "could become the permanent home of an NFL franchise before the end of the decade and even host the Superbowl one day," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. Kirkwood also revealed that he was in negotiations over staging three regular-season matches in London in '14, with this year seeing two "held in the capital during a single campaign for the first time." The "spectacular success of the NFL's decision to allow matches to be played in London has led to calls for the city to host its own permanent franchise." Kirkwood said, "It's possible that it could be done before the end of the decade." However, "he warned that 24 of the 32 current NFL owners would have to agree any such move." Having signed a four-year deal to play one home game in London until '16, the Jaguars look the most likely candidate to move -- "particularly after owner Shahid Khan bought Premier League club Fulham" (TELEGRAPH, 9/23). ... Wembley's Managing Dir Roger Maslin will not rule out a bid to host a Super Bowl, but warned it may take a while to bring the event to London. Maslin praised the continued success of the partnership with the NFL and said that one day the world's most-watched sporting event could take place under the famous arch. Maslin: “If you spoke to Mr. Goodell [NFL Commissioner] at the moment I think he would be saying that it would stay in the U.S. But they are a very progressive organisation, so long term I think they might consider it, but it’s a hell of a call. If they would bring it anywhere in the world, I’d want it here at Wembley" (The FA).