Rugby World Cup prevented NFL from playing more London games in 2015
The recent expansion of the NFL’s London games, from one in 2012 to two in 2013 to three in 2014, won’t continue for 2015. But the slate could expand again come 2016.
As explained by Albert Breer of NFL Media, the staging of the Rugby World Cup in 2015 reduces the availability of Wembley Stadium. Come 2016, there will be no such impediment.
As a result, NFL V.P. of international Mark Waller told Breer that Waller will “be very disappointed if we’re not playing more than three games there in 2016.”
More tweaks to the London approach could be coming. Next year, the NFL will send a divisional game to London for the first time, with the Jets and Dolphins squaring off. Also, the NFL will play games on back-to-back weekends at Wembley Stadium for the first time.
Future changes may include, per Breer, having teams play the weekend after playing in London in lieu of having an automatic bye week and/or playing London games in December. The
overriding goal will be to determine the potential impact of these factors on competitive balance.
Which means that interest remains high either in playing even more games in London — or in putting a team there.