The NFL has been playing one game each season in London for several years now.
That isn’t likely to affect the Green Bay Packers under it’s current format because Packers fans and the team would go bat shit if the league proposed moving a home game out of Lambeau Field, particularly to another country. Somewhat more probable is the Packers appearing as the visiting team in a London game.
The chances of that happening may be even greater if you believe San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York, who says a team in London is likely.
“There is easily enough of a fan base over here to stage two games a season,” York said. “I think eventually there will be a Super Bowl outside the U.S. I couldn’t tell you when that would be. I can see it both ways. I’m not sure what will be first, a Super Bowl over here or an NFL team, but they both seem likely to happen.”
First, it should be noted York was in London promoting his team’s October 31 game against the Denver Broncos when he made the comment. However, it should also be noted that York is the chairman of the NFL’s international committee, so he probably has some insight.
That being said, it’s hard to believe the NFL would put the biggest American sporting event of the year in a foreign country, but a franchise in London seems to be a realistic possibility.
With regular games in London, Mexico City and now with the Buffalo Bills playing some home games in Toronto, the NFL is clearly serious about developing an international presence. The London games have been successful, and while the English may not fully understand American football, they have shown a willingness to spend money on it.
A franchise in London gives the NFL access to another continent and a whole new potential fan base. The opportunity is a tough one to ignore.
That probably means, at some point, the Packers will be playing in London.
“The London games have been successful, and while the English may not fully understand American football, they have shown a willingness to spend money on it.”
This is a bit harsh. Just like soccer in the US, some fans completely understand it, some fans have an understanding and some fans are new to it and learning.
The question whether enough English people have a good understanding of the sport to warrant a franchise or a Superbowl (as someone who lives in London, my answer at the moment would be no).
I think the best thing to do, to gauge interest, would be to have four pre-season games in the UK, one from each round of fixtures. You could spread them across the country and it it doesn’t upset the Americans as much.