The NFL’s Affair With the UK Continues in 2015

The NFL’s love affair with the UK continues. Last November the announcement was made that the NFL International Series—the controversial practice of regular season fixtures being played outside the US—will once again take place in 2015.

The fixtures slated to be played at London’s iconic Wembley Stadium were confirmed as Week 4’s New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins, Week 7’s Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars and Week 8’s Detroit Lions vs. Kansas City Chiefs.

The Jaguars are making something of a home of London, the city in which their owner is also the custodian of a soccer club, Fulham FC. Shahid Khan negotiated a deal with the NFL which saw his franchise commit to playing one “home” game in London per season, for four years.

Although now looking to take the agreement past its current end date Khan, a self-made automotive billionaire, has always been keen to state that his intentions did not include moving the Jaguars from their Jacksonville home. Rather, he hoped, that Jacksonville and the Jaguars could both benefit from taking a global view.

How could he grow the current fan base? In brokering the London deal, he hoped to raise awareness of the side and tap into the UK visitor base in Florida.

Khan told the Guardian in 2012: “Jacksonville is an undiscovered gem, with key resources for tourism and the beaches. It is highly influenced by its maritime business and London is a logical point along the way. We need to take this and market Jacksonville overseas.”

The International Series, which has run since 2007, has been a great success for the league and and for the US and UK sports fans. Whether it is fantasy football or traditional betting, American and British supporters are heading to domestic and international sports books in droves. Reputable sites for the international American football fan can be found at GamblingSites.net.

Similar to the NFL and bent on global domination, the English Premier League is an incredible marketing success which many other leagues wish to emulate. As the competition attempts to draw closer, the league constantly looks for alternative revenue streams and an idea called the “39th Game” regularly rears its head.

The Premier League have no doubt had one eye on events in the NFL, and another on the increasingly large crowds that are drawn to watch touring soccer teams play “friendly” matches over the last few years. The idea was to create either an extra fixture in the season’s round-robin calendar—a 39th game—or for one club to forsake a regular season home game to be played on foreign soil.

The idea was first floated in 2008 and was met with much criticism from fans and the media. Last August, EPL chief Richard Scudamore reiterated his desire to see the “39th Game” get off the ground. He stated that the clubs were also keen on the idea and that “it would happen at some point”.

Soccer fans in England are still very much opposed to the idea. However, the International Series has also met with opposition in the past—and still does in the present—but by and large it has been a success. It is here, and it is likely to stay.

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