Roger Goodell Press

Biz Blitz: Roger Goodell hints at NFL team for London before Los Angeles

I want to thank NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for that uproarious #AskCommish thing on Twitter yesterday. That was 30 minutes of the best social media entertainment you will ever see.

But, did Goodell use the event to lever Los Angeles to pony-up for a new stadium by dropping hints about a NFL franchise in London?

The NFL, for reasons still mysterious to fans, keeps toying with Europe.

Football is the quintessential American game. I believe it’s cultural.

“Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become.” ~Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory

American football was not a commercial success in Europe in several tries. Attribute that to the lack of a committed fan base that played the sport while growing up. The league never used NFL Europa as a true development league to attract American curiosity that would blend with a developing Common Market appeal.

Perhaps the British see a similarity to rugby that may translate to football American-style. A common language may be part of it. Or perhaps the Brits are as fascinated by things American as royalty does some Americans.

Whatever, the NFL seems determined to grow an international fan base before soccer gains a real beachhead in the U.S.

There is a business imperative for that. The NFL has run out of room for expansion in the U.S. There is more talk about moving franchises than of growing them organically. Few jurisdictions left can pony up a billion dollars public funding for a stadium. (Looking at you, LA.) The NFL’s handshake agreement with the CFL closes off most of Canada except for the lifeline that may save the Bills.

We are not privy to the surveys and financial projections that lead the NFL to cast is eye on London, but a home team there presents logistics and financial obstacles.

The league could overcome the logistics issues with scheduling, say by having the London Royals play home games on Thursday night. Every U.S.-based team west of Chicago that flies there should be guaranteed a Monday night game the following week. The London team would get something similar for their away games.

The financial hurdle may have resolved itself since the 2011 lockout war when the owners heisted, I mean “transferred,” billions in revenue from the players.

Somehow, I sense this works better with an 18-game season with two bye weeks for each team. The player’s union may be enticed by the chance to expand the job market for players by the addition of one or two more teams.

Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.

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