NFL Hopes to Inconvenience NFL Teams With International Games Four Times a Year By 2012

The NFL is awfully desirous of getting a franchise on foreign soil. And not Canadian soil, because, really, that's no great shakes. No, we're talking something on another continent. That's why the NFL is so invested in making the annual games in London a success. That way, the league slowly gets both a prime international market and American viewers used to the concept of NFL action overseas. Ideally, it becomes something fans at home and abroad anticipate, thus paving the way for acceptance of a permanent home for the NFL in Britain.
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↵And based on the results they've gotten so far, the league and its partners abroad are ramping up their plans. The managing director of NFL UK said that he wants two regular season games played there next year -- one at the end of September and one at the end of October - with the amount doubling from two to four by the 2012 season. Roger Goodell has also suggested the likeliness of having two games in London next season. ↵

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↵The issue, of course, will be getting four teams to surrender a home game each season. On one hand, it might be easier because the length of the season will probably be increased by then. Also, with four teams giving up a home game, the strategic disadvantage of playing one fewer game in their own stadium becomes less pronounced, especially if you take all four teams in one division. Still, in terms of logistics, it's not an easy thing to ask of a franchise. ↵

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↵According to Pete Thamel of The New York Times, Patriots owner Bob Kraft has come out and said that he'd like to see an NFL franchise in London within the next decade. Influential though he may be, Kraft is only one owner, and one who already sponsors an Israeli football league. A track record of success in the annual games will have to be established before the NFL can get a majority to sign on to a London team. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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