The NFL has announced that they’ll be continuing on its tradition of sending a few games overseas to be played in front of a London audience, albeit with a couple of changes this year.
First off, they’re lowering the amount of games played in the UK from 4 to 3, but they’ll all be played in consecutive weeks. We’ll also see three teams across the pond who have never made the trip before: the Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, and Tennessee Titans. The Seahawks face the Oakland Raiders in a Week 6 matchup at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, the following weeks will see a pair of games at Wembley Stadium as the Eagles go up against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Titans play the Los Angeles Chargers. The order in which those two games with be played has yet to be announced.
With Seattle, Philly, and Tennessee all making their trip to London, they’ll leave the Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers, and Green Bay Packers as the only NFL teams to have never played a game in the UK.
On the change to consecutive weeks of games in London, NFL executive vice president of events and international Mark Waller said,
This is another important year as we develop our plans for London and the U.K. By playing games on three consecutive weeks, we will learn a lot, both from the fans buying tickets and attending games, and from a logistics and organizational standpoint.
The Tottenham stadium is brand new, and will feature the world’s very first dividing, retractable soccer pitch which have artificial surfacing underneath used for NFL games and concerts. In further conforming to what NFL players and fans have grown accustomed, the stadium will also have a dedicated NFL entrance, NFL-sized locker rooms, dedicated NFL media and medical facilities, and seats designed to make an NFL game just as visible from the stands as a soccer game.
On the business side of things, the NFL contributed £10m toward the tailoring of the stadium and will also split ticket, refreshment, and merchandise sales with Tottenham Hotspur.
The NFL is clearly looking to expand its appeal outside of the US by upping the frequency in which the London games will be played, while still continuing the new tradition of staging one game in Mexico City. We here in the States love football and it would be great to see the rest of the world embrace it as much as we have.