Scotland ‘could host NFL game at Murrayfield or Hampden Park’

Scotland’s national rugby and football stadiums could host a regular-season NFL game in future.

Murrayfield, with a 67,000 capacity, and the 52,000-capacity Hampden Park have been identified as possible options for more expansion in the United Kingdom.

London will stage four more NFL games this autumn, two at Wembley and two at Twickenham, after three games in 2016.

With overseas matches continuing until at least 2025, the league is keen to branch out into other European cities.

“It is great to see how passionate the fans are here,” said Charlotte Offord, the director of marketing for NFL UK, on a promotional visit to Glasgow, Scotland.

“They are travelling quite long distances to come to NFL games, which is great to see.

Hampden Park and Murrayfield are two venues that are well equipped and have the right pitch size to host an NFL game.

“Although the focus for us right now is expanding the London games, conversations have certainly taken place and will continue to take place around whether a game is possible in Scotland in the future.”

American football’s profile in Scotland has plummeted since the demise of the Scottish Claymores, who competed in the World League of American Football (later renamed NFL Europe) between 1995 and 2004.

The Claymores recruited ex-Scotland rugby union full-back Gavin Hastings for a season in 1996.

The Claymores recruited ex-Scotland rugby union full-back Gavin Hastings for a season in 1996.

The Claymores were initially based at Murrayfield, before later alternating their games between the capital and Hampden Park. Officials at both venues would be keen to stage the sport again.

A spokesman for the national football stadium told BBC Scotland: “Hampden Park was the spiritual home for the successful Scottish Claymores…and a logical choice should the NFL seek to expand their horizons in the future.”

And the Scottish Rugby Union said: “We are very open to welcoming NFL matches to BT Murrayfield. We have nothing planned, but always welcome discussions.”

The NFL claims it has 13 million fans in the UK, and its players are happy at the prospect of branching out into new territories.

“The more places we can go, the better,” Christian Kirksey, a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns, who will play Minnesota Vikings at Twickenham in October this year, told BBC Scotland.

“It is all about expanding your fan base and letting people see you, rather than just watching you on TV.

“I think it is a good idea for us to keep travelling to different spots and get more exposure for the NFL.”

Thomas Morstead, a kick-off specialist for New Orleans Saints, who play Miami Dolphins at Wembley later this year, would also be happy to play a regular-season game in Scotland.

“What’s an extra 30 minutes or hour’s flight?” said the 2010 Superbowl winner. “I don’t think it matters where it is.

“If there are passionate fans that want to see us play, I am sure if they can fill a stadium and that the NFL would love to play here at some point.”

Source: BBC

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