London is one step closer to becoming the new home of an American Football team, the following a meeting between UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, NFL team owners, executives and star players ahead of this year’s first NFL game at Wembley Stadium.
The Chancellor met the owners of the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets and Mark Waller from the NFL at Downing Street and discussed the steps that would need to be taken to encourage a team to locate in London.
The Chancellor has previously announced his ambition and support to bring the NFL to London permanently and since then the NFL have been in talks with government officials to examine the opportunities for an NFL team being based here and discuss any barriers they currently faced.
The Chancellor, George Osborne said “I want London to be the global sporting capital. That’s why I am supporting the NFL to bring one of their 32 teams to London permanently and will work with them to make this happen.”
He went on “ This would be a huge boost to our capital city. I’m doing everything I can to make it happen so that London scores a touchdown.”
Mark Waller, NFL Executive Vice President, International, said “We continue to be overwhelmed by the response we get in the UK and are delighted to be helping to make London the capital of world sport this weekend. Everything we experience in London highlights a huge demand for more NFL here. We enjoyed a very positive discussion with the Chancellor today about making that a reality.”
Stephen Ross, Owner of Miami Dolphins, said “As the NFL continues to grow in the UK it is very exciting to have the support of Mr Osborne and his colleagues in government. He is clearly very knowledgeable and passionate about the NFL and understands the benefits that an increased NFL presence in the UK can bring economically.”
Woody Johnson, Owner of New York Jets, said “We are very excited about the growth of the NFL in the United Kingdom and the support of Mr Osborne and his colleagues going forward is very valuable.”
The Chancellor also met NFL Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Curtis Martin, who are in London ahead of the Miami Dolphins vs New York Jets game this Sunday.
They exchanged a Rugby World Cup 2015 ball and a NFL gold Superbowl 50 ball as a sign of their commitment to bringing the sport to London.
NFL is one of the UK’s fastest growing sports, with millions of fans and three games presently played annually in the NFL International Series in London.
The NFL have played league games in London at Wembley Stadium since 2007, increasing the number of games as interest in the sport has sky rocketed.
A study carried out last year by the Sports Business Group at Deloitte found that the two NFL International Series Games played in autumn 2013 contributed £32 million to the London economy.
This could increase to £102 million in the event of a London-hosted franchise playing eight regular games a season in the capital.
This year three games are being played at Wembley. The three teams that will play regular season games in the UK for the first time in 2015 are the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets.
This will mean that 20 different NFL teams will have played in the International Series in London since it began in 2007.