American football in London

England will once again host live NFL action after it was announced that four games will be played in 2017 in an international series. London has played host to the NFL since 2007, with a game per season being played in the capital. That changed in 2013 when London hosted two NFL league games and for the last three years, three games have been played on these shores.

This time around, four games will be played, involving eight teams. The Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams and the Arizona Cardinals will face off in the NFL 2017 London Games. To kick off, the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars, as well as the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins, will go head to head in games at Wembley. The Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns will face off at Twickenham as will the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams.

These games are often a great spectacle and a chance for UK based NFL fans to go and watch their sport live, without having to travel to America. The fan base in the UK has grown since the inception of NFL games taking place in England and it continues to grow as popularity levels increase year on year. This growth in the sport is underlined with how much coverage it now gets on all media channels and even online bookmakers like Sportingbet, covers the sport with a huge amount of betting markets made available.

It’s also important for the NFL to broaden its horizons in order to help the sport grow on the global stage rather than just inside the USA. It allows teams to grow their fan bases, bringing more recognition and revenue in the process. Both Wembley Stadium and Twickenham provide the perfect venues for NFL games to take place, with all of them due to be live on TV all around the world.

This year will see three teams making their debut in England. The Raves, Browns and Cardinals are all due to make their first ever appearances in London, so it will be a special occasion for the teams and their fans.

The first game that will take place will see the Baltimore Ravens up against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This will be on the 24th of September at 2.30pm, at Wembley Stadium. That game is followed up by another at Wembley, this time seeing the New Orleans Saints against the Miami Dolphins, on October the 1st. The venue then switches to Twickenham on October 22nd, with the Arizona Cardinals facing the LA Rams. Then the final game, again at Twickenham, will see the Minnesota Vikings up against the Cleveland Browns, on October the 29th.

It should be a great viewing spectacle for both fans and neutrals alike, with the NFL continuing to grown rapidly in popularity in the UK. People have even spoken about the possibility of a permanent NFL team being set up in England and you wouldn’t be surprised after the success of hosting games over the last ten years. This year will see half a regular season home fixture list played in London for the first time and this only strengthens the case for an overseas franchise.

John McKeon
John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.
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