Following the construction of a $1 billion next-gen Tottenham Hotspur stadium, with an interchangeable soccer and football pitch, retractable glass roof, and bespoke NFL locker rooms, it’s obvious the UK is taking pro football seriously. And that has worked out pretty well for them. Tickets to this year’s London NFL sold out at game four.
The first football game in this stadium was monumental. Partly because it was something other than soccer and the little fact that Chicago Bears vs. Oakland Raiders was the first pro football game that was played in the new stadium. Surprisingly, fans showed up three hours earlier – which only meant one thing. They had skipped the usually pre-soccer ritual where people hit the pubs for a few drinks than show up at the game just in time for the kickoff.
Despite being played on UK soil, the NFL kept its American flavor. People tailgated hours before kickoff, there was an epic halftime show, and the magical lights came on after the first touchdown.
Will There be a Permanent NFL Team in London?
It’s too early to start hoping for an NFL franchise in the UK, but that does not mean it will never happen. The thing is, there are a lot of moving parts to consider, with the major one being the fan base. There’s no telling if the NFL will continue to sell out or things will slow down in the future. It’s more of a wait-and-see situation.
This expansion move, however, is not new. Other sports are trying to extend their reach to foreign soil in a bid to build a bigger following. The NBA, for example, is planning games in Mexico City and Paris this season. Also, soccer leagues are considering playing season-games in new locations all over the world.