WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – When the NFL began playing regular season games in London once a year or so, it was obvious the league had grown eyes for marketing its product on a global scale, but surely they wouldn’t move a team across an entire ocean, right?
The days of an NFL team in London are fast approaching, and a team struggling to maintain its current fanbase in the U.S., like the Jacksonville Jaguars for instance, could be ripe for a move as soon as the next five to seven years, if you’re to believe Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
In his latest piece, La Canfora attributes his theory, and it is just that, to a recent tone shift from league officials regarding London talk.
“For the last year or so, when I have talked to NFL team executives coming out of various owner’s meetings, the tone has changed regarding their impression of the league’s flirtation with London. It used to be more of an “if” scenario. Now, it’s more like “when” we start playing in London. Like, it’s only a matter of time. It’s been a major initiative at the league office, spearheaded by the commissioner, and the commitment to getting this done seems unwavering.”
“If anybody thinks this is somehow random or just cute, or the league’s just kind of doing it just to do it as a favor to London, no,” La Canfora told the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Thursday. “Where these games are played is completely calculated, who’s playing in these games is calculated. All of this is a means to an end, which is eventually putting a team there.”
He cites conversations with members of the NFL’s International Committee, who suggest it’s not a matter of “if” the league will expand to London, but “when,” going as far as to say their fixation is such they should just call themselves the London Committee.
“If you follow anything that happens in this league, generally money talks,” La Canfora said. “And at a certain point we will have tapped out what we can do in terms of wringing every ounce of revenue out of the U.S. or North America as a whole. That point will come.”
“There’d be some things that would have to be resolved, but the longer this goes on, the more the league investigates, the more games they play over there and the more owners get behind it – and not just Roger Goodell and his fellow big wigs at the league office – the more that this looks like it’s going to become a reality.”