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The Blue & Gray Press | October 24, 2017

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NFL expands its empire to include UK

NFL expands its empire to include UK

By HOGAN LEPORE

The National Football League is not a formal business. If it were, it could arguably be the largest business in America. The NFL’s revenue is estimated at about $9.5 billion. As for all the 32 teams, the overall market value is near $46 billion.

That being said, the NFL is always looking to expand. Therefore, many believe there will soon be an NFL organization in London. If not in London, then some other international country. This speculation has emerged because the NFL has done a great job reaching out to its European fan base, as it has completed eight consecutive seasons. All of which held a game in the United Kingdom at Wembley Stadium in London.

Over the weekend, on Oct. 25, 2015, the NFL traveled to London and hosted a match between the visiting Buffalo Bills and the make-shift home team, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Wembley Stadium also hosted a match between the Detroit Lions and the Kansas City Chiefs the same day, which was the 15th game played in the NFL International Series. This long stretch of NFL contests in London does not look like it will stop anytime soon, as fans across the world love witnessing the American sport being played in a foreign land. Although relocation to the United Kingdom seems imminent, there is still some time to be had before any teams jump the pond. There is also a couple hoops the NFL must jump through in order to even generate interest in the idea.

One big hoop is that they must fully convince the National Football League Players Association. I am not sure every player is on board with relocating a team to a foreign land for a simple fact that players of the potential United Kingdom organization may not want to live in a foreign country.

This could be because of family, financial reasons and living arrangements. I understand every player probably enjoys a one-time trip to London to play ball, however I guarantee most players are saying after that Wembley trip, “I could not see myself playing there every other week.” Now, I am not saying there will never be a squad in London, all I am saying is that it will take time for it to happen.

However, if you are a fan of regime changes, one is on the horizon. The NFL might have a franchise back in Los Angeles as close to next season. Los Angeles has not had football since the Los Angeles Rams back in 1994.

The teams contending for this location are the San Diego Chargers, the Oakland Raiders and the St. Louis Rams. San Diego may be the lead dog due to the fact that their fan base is rather lackluster compared to Oakland and St. Louis, plus they are close to Los Angeles so a reformation of divisions within the NFL will not be challenging at all. This is exciting news for the NFL and all fans alike.

Overall, I think this progressive movement in the National Football League is very good for the NFL, not only for growth in popularity, but it will also bring in more money for the league. That money gives the league more opportunities to help protect the players and make sure they have fulfilling lives after football.