NFL planning more London games, eyeing UK expansion

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NFL UK officials are expressing hope that a third annual game can be added to the overseas docket with a NFL franchise being given a permanent home "before the end of the decade."

The NFL is eyeing an increased presence in London, with NFL UK managing director Alistair Kirkwood revealing to the Telegraph that the NFL is in negotiations to add a third regular season game at Wembley Stadium for 2014. Beyond next season, the NFL may also be considering giving London a permanent NFL franchise. According to Atwood, a move to put an NFL team overseas "could be done before the end of the decade."

The NFL currently plays two games at Wembley Stadium every season. The first match is set to take place this weekend between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings, with the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers matching up on Oct. 27 in London.

Last we heard on the subject, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suggested that the Jaguars could play two "home" games at Wembley, instead of just one and reiterated the league hopes to finally put a franchise in London due to the reception American football has received in the UK. The logistical concerns are clear. Travel expenses would be massive for fans, and travel times a headache for players. There is some question about the long-term viability of the sport in a country obsessed with soccer as well.

Adding more NFL games to the docket, perhaps a Super Bowl, or moving an NFL franchise to London would help Wembley renew corporate seat packages that are set to expire in 2017. Profit dipped for the stadium in 2012 in part due to the draw of the Summer Olympics as well as fact that Wembley did not host a Champions League final last year. The Stadium is looking to spruce up the annual events calendar and adding more NFL games would help.

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