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lazloisdavrock

European Interest in American Football is interesting

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lazloisdavrock

If you only live on the Internet you will gather that most European countries dislike American Football for whatever reason. This is evident on social media and general forums. Especially those in the UK. I thought this was 100% true until I recently visited London.

 

In real life these sentiments you find on the internet seem completely false. I was in London for a week this past month on a business trip and on a down day I was out and about and had multiple positive comments on my Baltimore Ravens jersey that I had packed in plans of doing this sort of social experiment. I thought maybe the team was only recognizable to some because they are playing in London this season. I got to talking to a fan who invited me to visit a pub called Bodeans Soho, that also serves some excellent BBQ. So as an American of course I was drawn to some good BBQ. The Place was packed with rowdy NFL fans watching a preseason game. A freaking PRESEASON game. Talking to these London natives about players and teams made me feel like I had never left the US as their knowledge and love for the sport was totally unexpected.

 

I was told the English love the NFL and that Wembley Stadium is always at capacity when the NFL visits each season. (90k-100k) fans for each game attend. Its pretty incredible given If you take the internet at face value you would get a totally different story. I understand Football is the wolds sport first but I think its awesome we can all enjoy different sports together. There is massive amount of "soccer" fans here in the US and lots that follow the European leagues as well.

Edited by lazloisdavrock

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Jason

Sorry bud, but it's still very much true. NFL isn't particularly popular in the UK by any means. It's growing, definitely, but the Wembley sell outs are because it's a one off occasion more than it is because the sport has a big fanbase. If you look around in London you'll find places to watch NFL, certain pubs and what not but London is one of the most diverse cities in the world and has something for everyone. The rest of the UK has little to no interest in the sport.

 

There is talk of more NFL games coming to England though, I believe Tottenham are planning to host a few a year once their new stadium is finished, they even have a retracting pitch to support it.

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El Dildo

if the NFL expanded across the pond it would effectively mark the end of the NFL as we know it.

the occasional promotional game is one thing but I would be surprised if they did anything more than that in my lifetime...

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Bare

In Europe we think that American interest in European football is growing too. It seems like we're both wrong since I can tell you almost nobody cares about American football here.

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Jonesizzle

if the NFL expanded across the pond it would effectively mark the end of the NFL as we know it.

the occasional promotional game is one thing but I would be surprised if they did anything more than that in my lifetime...

Funny you said that, because I've read the NFL would be ready to make London a home for a NFL team by 2020. I just don't see how it'd work with the rigorous traveling plans they'd have to make.

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Not A Nice Person

The NFL only has a niche fanbase overseas, like Euroleagues in actual football are in America. Both are usually people from the native base that were fans at home.

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gtamann123

The NFL only has a niche fanbase overseas, like Euroleagues in actual football are in America. Both are usually people from the native base that were fans at home.

This is spot on. American Football has the same interest in Europe as European soccer does here. Maybe even less. It's certainly a niche sport and I have no idea why the NFL thinks that's selling out the games in London means that a full time team would be viable.

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ThatBenGuy

I mean, the NBA is popular in the Mediterranean and Eastern European countries and the MLB is popular in Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, Japan, China, South Korea, and India. Just because the NFL may not be that popular among foreigners doesn't mean that OTHER sports leagues of American origin can't be! :)

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Hmmm nice bike

If the NFL creates an actual team based in London, I think it's either gonna flop or be kept barely alive by the fanbase there, but they'd probably be a sh*tty team that nobody stateside would take seriously. I don't see how they can make it work with the amount of traveling they'd have to do and the time zones being so far apart. And, of course, I can already picture Trump tweeting something like "Failing NFL thinks they can make a team work in London, maybe now everybody who kneels can leave here and play for that team instead." I understand that it's a strong niche fanbase, but unless they establish teams in other UK cities or other places in Europe for them to play, I dunno if it'd work. How many players are going to be willing to fly back and forth constantly between the UK and a bunch of US cities on a weekly basis? And will non-wealthy fans have the money to even spend on travel expenses for themselves to see the team play?

 

I'm sure the NFL would love to have a Superbowl at Wembley Stadium, too, but even that's gonna be weird. You either have it super-late at night UK time so that it's on at a normal time here, or you have it on normal time there and it'll begin at around 7 or 8am here (and that's not even taking the West Coast into account, they're another few hours off).

 

Also, general question for any UK people out there, how strong of a fanbase is it really? Because I have friends who live in the UK far from London and they know more about how the sport is played than a lot of people here, and a small casual league has even started up in their town that one of them joined. Of course, if it's all comparable to the interest in European/South American 'football' teams here, then I can understand the comparisons and thoughts that each sport is getting bigger in opposite countries. Soccer is big in the Pacific Northwest, but good luck finding any fans in other parts of the US as soon as you leave major cities.

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Zello

I could see it work if they have a practice facility in the states and only fly out to games once a weekend to the UK.

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Hmmm nice bike
4 minutes ago, Zello said:

I could see it work if they have a practice facility in the states and only fly out to games once a weekend to the UK.

I still don't see the point in that. That's still a lot of flying they'd all have to do, and would they basically be restricted to playing in London for most of their games? If that's the case, their practice facility may as well be in the UK, too. And where would they live, in the US or the UK?

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Doctor Holliday

Yeah, I don't see the point in any of this.

If American Gridiron in Europe is not a gimmick, then I don't know what a gimmick is. They have rugby and football and they really don't seem to care for or have any need for the US counterpart.

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Hmmm nice bike
51 minutes ago, Doctor Holliday said:

Yeah, I don't see the point in any of this.

If American Gridiron in Europe is not a gimmick, then I don't know what a gimmick is. They have rugby and football and they really don't seem to care for or have any need for the US counterpart.

I think a lot of it is just the Americana aspect of it. Giant guys wearing armor crashing into each other, BBQ, tailgate parties, fighter jets flying over while the national anthem plays. Complete with American flags flying high or a bunch of things designed after the flag (including the NFL's own logo). It's something different compared to what the other country is used to that people there find interesting.

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Doctor Holliday

Yeah we love it because it's big, loud, brash and American as fu ck!
Which is exactly why I can't imagine the English would care. Their interest is only a curiosity, so it's fine to give them exhibition games, but it's not nearly enough to warrant them having their own teams or something. Like you said, what are they gonna' do about time zones and jet lag? We don't need leagues of international athletic teams trying to maintain a regular schedule. That's why we have Formula 1 and the World Cup and the Olympics :lol:

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