WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – With the NFL continuing to schedule games in London – even attempting to build remote fanbases by regularly scheduling some of the same teams – and showing no signs of letting up, it’s beginning to appear as a question of ‘when,’ not ‘if’ a franchise will relocate to Great Britain.
In June, Jason La Canfora informed the Junkies of his belief that the NFL will relocate a franchise to London within the next five years.
While he seems to have shifted his timeline a bit – predicting a move by 2020 during That Other Pregame Show on CBS Sunday – he hasn’t backed down from his claim, saying owners are “very much committed” to the idea.
“At some point you’re going to reach a saturation, or maybe even an over-saturation in North America,” La Canfora told host Adam Schein. “Where can they grow the brand? Where can they grow the economics of the game? How can you bring more money into the pot, which obviously as we know with shared revenues, that brings the salary cap up, that means more money for players.”
“Players don’t love the idea, but the owners are very much committed to this happening,” he added. “Big time owners like Bob Kraft are behind it 100 percent. When you start looking towards 2020, you’ve got the expiration of t.v. contracts, you’ve got the expiration of this CBA, that’s when I think you’ll see a real push.”
In October, the Jaguars, who will also play one home game in London each of the next three seasons, take on the 49ers at Wembley Stadium, marking the first time two NFL games have been played in London in one regular season.
Contrary to La Canfora however, former Raiders CEO Amy Trask contends a team in London would pose too many logistical issues, like when a franchise routinely brings in free agents for workouts on Tuesdays, either to beef up its 53-man roster or practice squad.
“Well you’re not gonna fly a free agent, who may be in California, dare I say it, all the way to London for a Tuesday workout,” Trask said.
The debate is certainly an interesting one to hold, with legitimate pros and cons to weigh on either side, but as the NFL continues to schedule international games, with the destination coming up London every time, it seems more and more like the argument isn’t all that hypothetical.
View the clip below.