Last week I was in London on vacation, and so I got to see first hand the buildup towards the NFL matchup in London between the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The game was not a good one, and the buzz leading up to is was not as well.
Everyone knows that Europe is all about soccer, and London is no different. Many teams have a lot of fans in London, including three very successful teams, Manchester United as well as two London-based squads, Chelsea and Arsenal. It is the chief sport by far, and in a culture like London, the soccer team, or football team as they say, is their only team they have. They don’t have a squad to backup on if the team is not good, unlike we in the United States, where if our baseball team does not do well we have others to fall back on.
But the buzz leading up to the game was very little in London. No signs around the city, no major coverage of it, just an occasional story in the news. The only time American football is ever mentioned is on Sunday when the teams play. Plus, the NFL cannot get a good game away from the country. Often the only time a team will agree to sacrifice a home game is when they can’t sell out their own stadium, automatically putting one presumably bad squad in the matchup. If you can’t get a good matchup for the London public, there is no chance of selling the sport to the British people. Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots, even said that he could not see himself sacrificing a home game for this, and that would go for other successful franchises as well.
The NFL will not work in London. A game a year probably is not a bad idea to get support from the niche there, but having a team that has to constantly fly across the Atlantic to play games just does not work. But more importantly, the NFL can never dominate there; their football will always be king in Great Britain.
Blog From Dave Vatz 09 Terrapin Graduate
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