Published on January 26, 2016 by Henry Royse  

Since the 2007 season, the NFL International Series has grown increasingly popular across the pond. The first game saw the New York Giants defeating the Miami Dolphins 13 – 10 at Wembley Stadium in London and boasted an attendance of 81,176. This attendance figure shows the attendance for every International Series game played to date:

International Series Game Attendance Figures
DateVisiting TeamScoreHome TeamScoreAttendance
October 28, 2007 New York Giants 13 Miami Dolphins 10 81,176
October 26, 2008 San Diego Chargers 32 New Orleans Saints 37 83,226
October 25, 2009 New England Patriots 35 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7 84,254
October 31, 2010 Denver Broncos 16 San Francisco 49ers 24 83,941
October 23, 2011 Chicago Bears 24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 18 76,981
October 28, 2012 New England Patriots 45 St. Louis Rams 7 84,004
September 29, 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Minnesota Vikings 34 83,518
October 27, 2013 San Francisco 49ers 42 Jacksonville Jaguars 10 83,559
September 28, 2014 Miami Dolphins 38 Oakland Raiders 14 83,436
October 26, 2014 Detroit Lions 22 Atlanta Falcons 21 83,532
November 9, 2014 Dallas Cowboys 31 Jacksonville Jaguars 17 83,603
October 4, 2015 New York Jets 27 Miami Dolphins 14 83,986
October 25, 2015 Buffalo Bills 31 Jacksonville Jaguars 34 84,021
November 1, 2015 Detroit Lions 10 Kansas City Chiefs 45 83,624

As the season comes to a close it looks like the three NFL games played in London at Wembley Stadium will be the highest average attendance for the 2015/2016 season. These attendance numbers have sparked a debate asking; why not move an NFL team to London?

Analysts and media entities think that a likely candidate for the move would be the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars average attendance figures since 2010 - 2014 have been: 63,032, 62,331, 64,984, 59,940, and 65,541 respectively. A move to London would undoubtedly increase attendance and, in turn, increase revenue for the franchise. While these figures would are plenty of incentive for the NFL, there are other factors to consider.

The Opposition

Those who oppose the expansion cite lengthy travel times, exchange rates, and other concerns as to why an NFL team in London would be a difficult transition for players and employees of the franchise. While these are legitimate concerns, analysts seem to think that a new bargaining agreement would give members of the expansion franchise salaries and benefits on a level competitive with the teams in the United States.

MLB is Closing the Popularity Gap with the NFL

An expansion to London would be a great move not only for the NFL, but also for the sport of football as a whole. Over the past few years, Americans have increasingly chosen Major League Baseball over the NFL as their favorite sport. According to the annual study called the Harris Poll, at its peak of popularity in 2011 (36%), the NFL had a 23% lead over the MLB as the favorite sport of Americans. In the most recent poll, only 32% of Americans picked the professional football as their favorite sport. This figure is down 3% from last year and the NFL now has just a 16% lead over Major League Baseball.

It is time for the NFL to make a move that would increase popularity of the sport not only in the US, but around the World and what better way to increase popularity than to place a team in one of the World’s largest cities. London has all of the makings of a great NFL city. With a huge market, an increasing fan base, and potential to draw fans from all over Europe, there is plenty of reason to make the move in the next few years.

This blog post was written by Samford University student Henry Royse.