British Chancellor George Osborne endorsed permanently moving an NFL team to the UK, in an interview with London’s Evening Standard.
The NFL has played matches at Wembley Stadium in London since 2007 to gauge the public response. So far, the American football games have been well-received by the British crowds and Osborne wants to capitalise on that enthusiasm.
“This is primarily a decision for the owners of the clubs and the NFL organisation but I’ve said to the NFL that anything the Government can do to make this happen we will do, because I think it would be a huge boost to London,” Osborne told the Evening Standard.
The plan has been in discussion for quite some time and the most likely option would be for one of the 32 existing NFL teams to relocate to the UK, rather than creating a brand new one.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are prime candidates because the team’s owner, Shahid Kahn, also owns the London-based Fulham Football Club. The Jaguars play the Dallas Cowboys at Wembley on Nov. 9.
Osborne thinks there’s a chance that a relocation could happen within the next few years, according to Evening Standard.
It seems many are in favour of having an NFL team based in London. Alistair Kirkwood, managing director of NFL UK, told The Independent: “We’re very interested in exploring the idea of a British-based franchise and seeing if we can pull it off. That’s the way of making our sport much more mainstream.”
The owners of Wembley Stadium, the Football Association, think a London-based NFL team would be profitable, although there is the potential for it to be a logistical nightmare with scheduling and air travel.
Osborne is still excited about the plan: “We could have not just the Star Spangled Banner at the beginning of NFL games but also God Save The Queen,” he told the Evening Standard.
The Atlanta Falcons will play the Detroit Lions at Wembley on Saturday.
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