NEW YORK (CBSDC) – The NFL is the most popular sports league in the United States; and with an average attendance of 67,591, they are looking to expand overseas to Europe.
“We couldn’t be happier with what we’re seeing,” Goodell said in a press conference that was shown on the NFL Network. “We actually couldn’t be more surprised by the tremendous demand for NFL football in London, in the UK in general, and frankly in Europe. So it’s not something that I think is 15 or 20 years away. It could be five or 10 years away.”
The NFL started playing regular season games in London in 2007 in hopes of putting a permanent franchise in London someday.
“The fans want to see more NFL football, and they want to see the real thing,” Goodell said. “They don’t want to see the ‘friendlies’ as they call them over there, which is preseason games. So we changed our strategy eight years ago and said, ‘Let’s play regular season games.’ And our clubs have responded very favorably. They’ve enjoyed the experience. So we’re anxious to do more of it. I see us continuing to play more games there, to focus on our television coverage there and expanding that, our other business efforts including licensing and sponsorship.”
Some owners agree with the idea of expanding to London.
“I can see the kind of reception we got there,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft told CBSSports. “I would not be disappointed, and I would also believe that we should work hard to try and have a franchise in London before the decade was out.”
While other teams are not seen so favorably as a permanent team in London, Steelers president Art Rooney feels it will eventually happen. “We’re still a little ways from deciding whether we can locate a team here, but so far so good,” Rooney said. “I’m not necessarily sold on the idea that we need to have a team there to be successful. Unless someone brings back the Concorde.”