On October 11th, NFL Owners attending the League’s Fall business meeting in Houston, authorized the League to schedule regular-season games in the U.K. in each of the next five years (2012-2016), and also gave increased capability for the League to determine the number of games per season, the venues, and the competing teams.
The new resolution allows teams to volunteer to play at least one regular-season game per year as a home team in the U.K. for up to five years. It also enables the league to determine the appropriate number of U.K. games per season, based on the popularity of the sport in the market and the number of teams that volunteer to play as a home team.
“The response to NFL games being played in the U.K. continues to be exceptional,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Because of the outstanding support of our British fans, we are confident that hosting additional games in the U.K. will be well received and support our goal of bringing football to more fans in the U.K. and beyond.”
BAFA Chair Gary Marshall warmly welcomed the announcement. 'The NFL International Series games have played a key part in raising the profile of the sport in Great Britain and in generating significant interest in participation. We are delighted at the potential of further games here and working in partnership with the League to both further develop interest in the sport and to capitalise upon it.'
The international series of regular-season games to date has contributed to increased NFL fan interest in the U.K., with a current fan base of 11 million, including more than 2 million avid fans, a 32% increase in the past two years.
Television ratings have also shown tremendous growth – with Sunday viewership of NFL games up 91% and the Super Bowl audience increased 74% since 2006 – while the league has developed new and stronger business partnerships.
NFL owners approved a resolution in 2006 to present up to two international regular-season games per season from 2007-2011. The new resolution is U.K.-focused and permits the NFL the flexibility to decide the number of U.K. games from year to year.
This year’s game on October 23 between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears will be the fifth NFL regular-season game played at London’s Wembley Stadium and is the final one as part of the initial resolution.
Full story: www.nfluk.com