The National Football League’s experiment of playing American football games in London has been an utter disaster. I will admit that it has gone well for the NFL financially, as tickets have sold very quickly, despite mediocre teams playing in the games.
NFL games in London are disastrous to the fans back here in the country that is undefeated against England in wars––suck it, England––the United States. Playing five time zones away from major markets like New York City and Miami means that start times for games are often, well, weird. The NFL tries to showcase games in London on the national level. To broadcast a game nationally, they need to either have it start at 8 p.m. eastern––that’s 1 a.m. in London––or at 9:30 a.m. Eastern––2:30 p.m. in London, as is typically done.
With the Buffalo Bills playing in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 25, 2015, this issue becomes very relevant in upstate New York. Although my dad wants to make the trek to his old home across the pond, it’s not an easy or cheap trip. Having big games like this in London is a big middle finger to working-class, diehard fans in the U.S.
If the NFL were to put a team in the same city that people worship a royal baby in, it would mean this issue would come up every week. Still, it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened. Increased flight traffic and tourism dollars for both American and British companies might be too much for the NFL to say no to. It’s a terrible idea, regardless.
The National Football League has now hosted its 11th regular season game in London with six more games over the next two seasons scheduled at Wembley Stadium. Here’s why it’s awesome for not only the NFL, but for us fans.
Each team that is the “home” team in London is put in the running to host a Super Bowl in the near future; the amended resolution says teams that play host to a Super Bowl must also be host to an overseas game. This is an easy way for cities to potentially host a Super Bowl and make a lot of money. For teams like the Buffalo Bills, this would be a great way to have the Super Bowl potentially come to western New York. Give up a home game for a potential Super Bowl in Orchard Park? I think it’s a fair trade.
The success of the Super Bowl in East Rutherford, New Jersey last February was a sign that Super Bowls are possible in cold-weather cities. The Minnesota Vikings gave up a home game and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27 in London last year, while the Kansas City Chiefs are scheduled to host the Detroit Lions at Wembley on Nov. 1, 2015. Both of those cities could host a Super Bowl in the near future.
NFL Europe was a disaster in the late 1990s and 2000s, so don’t worry, we’re not going to see a European division anytime soon. This is just a way for the NFL to make more money and sell more jerseys. In exchange, us fans get to see Super Bowls played in venues that have never hosted one. That’s a win-win.