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Why the NFL can’t move overseas

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There have been many rumors regarding NFL expansion or relocation to new destinations, and with Madden NFL 25’s feature regarding relocating a franchise, the topic has reached the forefront of interest in hardcore circles of sports fans.

Of the 17 locations listed as possible to pretend relocate your football team of choice, there are four cities outside of the USA that a user can choose: London, Toronto, Dublin and Mexico City.

The idea of moving a team to any of these cities is intriguing. I know from during the week I spent in London that they try to air NFL games whenever possible during the season, so there is obvious interest in the UK when it comes to American football. However, to make this a reality is highly unrealistic.

First of all, getting a football player to uproot his family and move to a place where six-to-eight hours of flying is the standard travel time to go to an away game is impractical. And that time is only the estimate from New York to London. Sure, some players might like the idea and would be on board for it, but that will  likely only be a very small percentage of them. The league already has issues with teams from the west coast traveling to the east coast a couple times a year, and players would dread going over twice the distance for one football game.

Another problem has to do with all the money people in the UK pour into attending and watching soccer. Because of soccer’s popularity, it would be difficult to garner enough interest for an American football team.

Another obstacle the NFL would have to overcome is finding a way to broadcast games from around the league, all while working around the issue of time zones, which in itself is just too big of a hurdle to overcome.

A very practical idea, however, that has surprisingly not drawn the interest of an NFL owner is moving a team outside the country while staying on the continent. I love the idea of Canada or Mexico having a team. Toronto is the clear-cut destination north of the border. With the Bills already playing a game there yearly, a team would likely draw a lot of interest. Mexico City is another plausible destination, and would likely spend a lot of money on the team. Since Mexico City is so large, there would surely be enough people to fill a stadium on a weekly basis.

I understand NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s interest in going international. It is a great way to acquire more money in this cash-influenced world we live in. But unless the crazy situation arises in which you could persuade four to eight billionaires to buy NFL expansion teams at the same time as placing one-of-two divisions in Europe, it’s not going to happen.

One Response

  1. Joe Strummer

    Why this Article is Dumb and the Author is Ill-Informed
    by Joe Strummer

    If moving across the ocean to play your sport profesionally is that big of a deal than I guess Asians coming to the MLB and Europeans coming to the NHL and NBA don’t happen. Oh wait, they do every year. What’s that? 18 year olds come over from Europe after getting drafted? Correct. These NFL players are big boys. They can’t afford to not move somewhere for the sake of their career. Plus lets face it, do you not think the NFL would figure out a good schedule for them? Get real.

    Fan interest. Regardless if the sellouts and packed stadiums only last 1 season or 50 but at the end of the day growing internationally is all about growing revenue by going to places where the fan base is small and growing it. The NFL doesn’t expect to be #1. Currently the UK probably contributes a few million to the NFL’s 9 billion a year. The point is to grow it. If the fan support there was already rampant then why would they need to go there? You know why they aren’t fighting to get into Salt Lake City or Brooklyn? Because everyone there that would be a fan and contribute to the NFL’s revenue if they had a team of their own are already doing it. The NFL has tapped out in the US. The NHL added teams to the southern USA, a crazier place for hockey than NFL in UK. Some teams were financial disasters and relocated, some stayed and tripled the NHL’s revenue in TV Contracts, merch and so on. Adding a team to London only ads fans, in no way does the NFL lose. If revenue goes from 9 billion to 8.8 billion (if the team loses hundred and hundreds of millions some how) the plan is for future growth.

    The argument of the NFL being a losing cause in the UK because of soccer is a useless argument. So UK can only have 1 major pro sport? Last time I checked US had NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS? Canada had NHL, CFL, NBA, MLS and MLB? Countries can have more than one. Yeah the NFL won’t be more popular than the Barclays Premier League. But could it become the second most popular? Sure.

    Canada is off limits. In Canada they have their own style of football. The CFL is the 2nd most popular league in Canada behind the NHL and often even rivals it, even beating the NHL in TV Ratings. The only place in Canada where the NFL is more popular is the Southern Ontario market (Toronto and Metro Area) however the last attempt at a team caused the Canadian Football Act, a 1974 Bill from the House of Commons giving the CFL a monopoly on professional football. The Bill did not need to get passed because it scared off an investors. The Bill is said to be brought back if another situation was to come up. Mexico City on the other hand: go for it.

    -you suck, use your head and don’t just regurgitate articles by other angry Americans who are selfish with football

    Reply

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