It’s quite the headline in today’s Telegraph — “NFL could see London expansion team playing at Wembley Stadium ‘by the end of the decade'” — and it immediately spawned lots of other news stories about the possible imminent arrival of American football in the UK. So who actually said what to set this whole thing off?
[Wembley managing director Roger] Maslin was confident the ground could stage an entire regular season of eight NFL games.
He said: “Football is our priority. But, yes, I’m absolutely confident that if [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell wanted to have franchise here then we could absolutely do it.”
Maslin also expressed his desire to bring the Super Bowl to Wembley, adding: “If they were bringing it anywhere in the world, we want it here.”
Okay, that’s all well and good — the stadium manager is talking up his stadium’s ability to host stuff, at a time when he’s concerned about corporate buyers not renewing their seat contracts because the stadium isn’t hosting enough stuff to make it worthwhile. But what’s with this “end of the decade” business?
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 and [NFL UK managing director Alistair] Kirkwood told Telegraph Sport: “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, adding: “I think the league should have aspirations to be global and having a London franchise would be a great step towards it, but it would have to be under certain conditions.”
One of those conditions would be “tripling” the UK fan base for American football, according to Kirkwood, who said a London franchise was not inevitable.
Okay, so what you actually have is the guy in charge of promoting the NFL in Britain saying the NFL could decide come to Britain, if people there would watch more American football. This is not so much “news” as “marketing.” I guess it’s at least nice to see that the States don’t have a monopoly on stenography journalism.