x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Exporting the NFL is fine - but only a game or two

The NFL could scarcely become more popular in the United States, so its net has been cast across the ocean. This season marks the sixth in which one game has been scheduled in London, writes Mike Tierney.

Games in London mean other areas also benefit, as teams use areas aside from Wembley to prepare, such as the Denver Broncos did in training at The Oval before their game in October 2010.
Games in London mean other areas also benefit, as teams use areas aside from Wembley to prepare, such as the Denver Broncos did in training at The Oval before their game in October 2010.

At its core, the NFL is a business. Like any business, once it approaches maxing out customers in a target area, it explores expanding to another.

Pro football could scarcely become more popular in the United States, so its net has been cast across the ocean. This season marks the sixth in which one game has been scheduled in London.

Next year there will be two, in part because new Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan envisions England becoming a home away from home for the Jaguars. He has offered up his team annually through 2016.

This doubling up in the UK is not OK with some Americans who suspect the league might someday plant a full-time franchise - or even a one-time-only Super Bowl - there. Shipping over foreign aid and domestic automobiles might be acceptable but not football.

Some missteps with his crackdown on discipline notwithstanding, league commissioner Roger Goodell is too smart to alienate his loyal clientele by shifting multiple games and/or The Big One overseas.

One periodic game is hardly an inconvenience for a team (non-Jaguar, anyway) or a significant turn-off to its fans (ditto). This trend could even grow slightly without harm as Brits increasingly sample that style of football other than the one they swear by.

Of course, if supersonic transport flights that facilitate trans-oceanic travel are resumed, it would be a certainty.

How does the "London Fog" sound for an expansion team?

sports@thenational.ae

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