- 10/28/2012, 02:39AM ET
blaugrana27: Messi!!! said 10/28, 02:39 AM
It's bad enough they call it American hand-egg overseas...
Time: How can a visiting team be expected to fly to London and not be at an immediate disadvantage? If the Chargers travel, it'd be about a 10-hour flight, not to mention an 8 hour jet-lag. If the London team travels to the US (like they would a minimum of 8X a year, they'd be biologically conditioned to 9pm for a 1pm local-time kickoff). TERRIBLE IDEA
TV: Time applies to this too. How could London have ANY prime-time games? An 8:30pm (London) MNF (or even Thursday) game would kick-off at 3:30pm ET, a terrible time for Americans considering jobs/school/kids etc. They'd be essentially eliminated from away games too as MNF always kicks off at 8:30pm ET, aka 1:30am London.
Competition: TV relates to this. Like the NFL, the EPL (top-flight soccer league) makes big $$$ on TV revenue. London is home to 5 EPL clubs (Chelsea, Arsenal, West Ham, Tottenham, Fulham). Not to mention the popularity of rugby and cricket. The NFL ends at latest in February; the EPL runs through May.
The NFL wants London more than London wants the NFL. MTC including major differences in the viewership of each sport.
Marlins Fan said 10/28, 06:03 PM
It's not a terrible idea. The NFL is a business and the conecpt here is globalization. The NBA has put a major emphasis on promoting their product world-wide in recent years and it's pasying off in a major way, as big stars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are even more popular around the world in various markets like Europe/Asia than they are here in the United States. The NFL is simply trying to expand their fan base and obviously growing their market is not by any stretch a terrible idea. On the contrary; it's brilliant.
You mentioned scheduling issues based off travel plans. Well fortunately the NFL only plays one game a week, meaning any team scheduled to play in London would have the option of flying overseas nearly a full week ahead of the game. This would provide plenty of time for adjusting to the time difference. The NFL already plays Sunday games between 1PM ET and 8:30PM ET, so there's a lot of built-in flexibility there.
Regarding competition, there are two ways of looking at it. Yes, Brits tend to be EPL fans. But they're sports fans. And many of them would undoubtedly start rooting for their home NFL team.
The NFL in London is brilliant.
blaugrana27: Messi!!! said 10/29, 01:38 AM
You'd lose a day of practice to traveling to a US city and if you have a home game the next week, there goes another day. That's brutal and could even affect the away team if they play(ed) a non-Sunday game the week before/after.
What is going to hurt the game's popularity will be the same thing hurting soccer's popularity in the US. We don't have many talented Americans to identify with. Is an English team full of Americans going to capture the hearts of the English? Europe doesn't exactly look kindly at Americans.
Soccer is free-flowing, constant action/movement with the occasional set-piece and only half-time. In the NFL, literally every play is a set-piece, often separated by 30+ seconds. Commercial breaks tack on another 45 or so minutes. It'd be culture shock!
The UK has 60mil+ citizens; an estimated 2mil (~30%) identify as NFL fans. Once the novelty of a new franchise wears off, interest will fade.
London, over time, needs a league. A franchise in a foreign league won't last, but a domestic league might. The MLS draws more in attendance than the NBA/NHL (16 years ago they started w/ 10 teams, barely any TV).
Avoid London, pursue a proven market in Los Angeles.
Marlins Fan said 10/29, 07:51 PM
There's no doubt that the international schedule would present a problem but at the end of the day we're talking about a multi-billion dollar industry looking at globalization and world-wide expansion. The NFL stands to reap billions of dollars in additional income as a result of global growth, and I don't see the NFL letting time-zone differences stand in the way of exponential market growth opportunities.
Your stat about the percentage of NFL fans in London is misleading. 30% is much higher than 2 million; it's more like 18 million. More than enough people to justify an overseas venture. And ultimately some Brits may be motivated to try out for the NFL if they grew up rooting for a local, England-based NFL team. Might not happen today or tomorrow, but you've got to start somewhere and the potential incentives are huge, so IMO it's just a matter of time before it happens.
An European League won't work. They tried it before with NFL Europe. It failed. London needs an actual NFL team which will compete against other real NFL teams. Copy cat leagues always fold, but the real NFL could survive and even thrive in an English speaking market like London.
blaugrana27: Messi!!! said 10/29, 09:55 PM
The percentage should read ~3% (typo).
The NFL Europe failed because of lack of interest in the sport itself. No interest = less $/talent. The quality of MLS has grown parallel to US interest in soccer.
Many Americans like the MLS, but we still prefer the top quality league. If the EPL can be a developing major force in the US (NBC just signed 3yr/$250mil with EPL yesterday), the NFL can do the same abroad without a foreign franchise. The NFL gains more from developing the sport itself rather than the league (just look at the NBA). A decent domestic league combined w/ real interest in the sport benefits the NFL the same way it does the EPL.
Developing a single team/league over the sport is a MISTAKE. Any success MUST be sustained to account for the lack of genuine passion. Just ask Pele and the NY Cosmos/NASL.
~2/3 of NFL players are colored. Throughout Europe it's common to see bananas thrown onto the field or hear racial chants. Samuel Eto'o, one of the world's best goal-scorers, nearly quit in his prime due to overwhelming racist abuse (refs didn't even include it in match report either). For player-safety, I'd like to see more action against racism.
Marlins Fan said 10/29, 10:35 PM
Let's be honest... the NFLE failed because of a lack of talent. Lack of interest comes into play, but the interest level was low because there was no talent.
I know this because I was there. I lived in Sembach, Germany from 198-2001. There was a fairly local NFLE team, the Frankfurt Galaxy. I was a die-hard NFL fan and I wanted to like the NFLE, so bad. But I couldn't. Know why?
Because there was no talent. The players were beyond forgettable. Their QB (who was actually probably the biggest name player in NFLE) was Michael Bishop. Remember him? The guy from K-State? Well he wasn't good enough for the NFL so he joined the Galaxy.
So I stayed home. I wasn't about to pay any money to go see freaking Michael Bishop attempt to throw passes against Bubba Obama and John-Doe Romney. There wasn't any attraction.
But the REAL NFL could succeed.
And as far as your last point about "colored" people... well here in the civilized world we call them African Americans. Or even black folks. But they're not "colored". Like you said, here in America we've moved past those days.
And you all should, too. The NFL could help Eurpoe let go of their prejudice.
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