NFL May Add More London Games in ’14

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(from Sports Business Journal, March 18, 2013) If you were to go back 10 years and ask someone in Europe what football was, they would more than likely tell you that it was the same as soccer; if you were to go up to someone in England today and ask what football was, they would probably tell you it’s the sport where people tackle each other and score touchdowns.  This evolution continues to emerge as the National Football League (NFL) resumes its marketing campaign of the UK.  For the past five seasons the NFL has brought at least one game overseas to the UK and in more recent years has started to bring more and more games.  John York, the owner of the San Francisco 49ers and member of the NFL’s international committee, said “Two games for this year, and as far as I know two games for next year.”

The marketing of these highly anticipated games is being focused primarily in London and southeastern England, which is a major shift from previous years when the NFL tried to spread their resources and market to all the England.  Jim Parsons, the NFL Senior Vice President-International, estimated that London would receive 80% of the marketing outlay as compared to 50% last year.  The idea behind marketing to single areas at a time, instead of marketing to everyone at once, is to create buzz across all of England, which would hopefully draw more people to the games the next year.  This venture into England has proved to be a very good move for the NFL, an NFL executive was quoted saying, “Both games in London are already sold out for the 2013 season.”

A growing fan base, a huge amount of ticket sales, and the urge to spread the NFL culture overseas more than likely means that the NFL will continue to bring games to England far into the foreseeable future, which will further educate everyone the difference between futbol and football.