Goodell: London Has Fan, Marketing Base For NFL Team, Super Bowl Still A Problem
Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 04:58PM
NYSportsJournalism.com in NFL, NFL, NFL London, Super Bowl, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

October 28, 2018: The NFL was in London over the weekend for the third and final time this season, with the Jacksonville Jaguars playing the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Also in London was commissioner Roger Goodell who made an appearance on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football Weekend, which also was based in London for the past week.

With Jacksonville playing in the U.K. for the sixth time, and with a contract to play there again for at least the next two seasons, Goodell was asked about the feasibility of having an NFL franchise located there.

“I believe that the fan base is here for a team," Goodell said on GMFW. "Just in numbers and passion, I think the business community/commercial community is strong enough. The political support we have for this is extraordinary. I think all of those elements are here.”

However, Goodall emphasized that there would be significant logistical hurdles should the Jaguars or another team be based out of London.

“Where it's most challenging in my view is in the playoffs, because you can't really plan for that,” he said.

“So we could probably work the schedule in a fair way during the season, but when you get to the post-season it could be unfair to a team . . . So we've got to find an answer to that.”

But other than that? “I’m perfectly comfortable with this market and the size and passion for football. We wouldn't have a problem (having a team here).”

The NFL has acknowledged that there is strong support in London to host a Super Bowl there and that the league has considered the possibility.

However, said Goodell, “The ownership really feels strongly that that's a reward for our fans. If (we) had a franchise here, I think it would come into play. I think without a franchise it's probably difficult.”

Earlier this month, Jaguars owner Shahid Khan decided to withdraw his $790 million offer to acquire Wembley Stadium in London, where the NFL has played most of its U.K. games as part of its International Series, since rebranded as the London Games, since 2007.

The Jaguars are seen as the team most likely to relocated to London, and acquiring Wembley could have facilitated that move.

A fan and marketing base is in place and growing.

The NFL’s game on Oct. 14 between the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders had a NFL Wembley record 84,922 in attendance, which was then broken on Oct. 28 when 85,870 watched the Eagles defeat the Jaguars.

Including the three games this season, the NFL has drawn more than 84,000 in 16 consecutive games in Wembley.

In addition to presenting sponsor Subway, NFL London marketing partners include Budweiser, Pepsi Max, Visa, Hyundai, Just For Men Hair Care, FedEx, Microsoft, Virgin Atlantic, Thomas Cook Sport, Bose, Heinz Yellow Mustard, Marriott and VisitTheUSA.com.

“We continue to be very excited by the growth of the NFL in the U.K.,” Goodell said last season. “The fans have demonstrated outstanding support and passion for the NFL over the past 11 seasons and we look forward to some great games in London this year."

The league said it has "developed new and stronger business partnerships and, according to internal research, has a U.K. fan base of more than 13 million, including close to four million avid fans."

"My observation over the last 20, almost 30 years coming over here to watch NFL football is they are so smart about football,” said Goodell. “They are great football fans. They're responding at the right time and that's fun for us. That means we're making a tremendous amount of progress."

Jags Owner Withdraws Bid To Acquire Wembley Stadium

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