Since 2007, the NFL has been hosting American football regular season games away from the US in the International Series at Wembley Stadium in London. This is obviously a good thing for the millions of NFL fans there are in this country.
It started happening after the other methods of promoting American football stopped – the American Bowl which was preceded by NFL Europe. The games are normally shown on Sky Sports, Channel 4 and More4, not that I have ever really watched them.
Now I understand that this is a very good thing for fans of American sports and the hype around Wembley when one of these games is about to start must be electric. However, that is not my main problem with the whole thing; I do get the whole supply and demand aspect of it all. The thing I don’t like is the fact that there have been at least one or two bids for the NFL to use either Wembley or the Olympic Stadium as a sort of home ground away from home.
This essentially means, if the powers that be and the NFL got what they wanted that more American football games would be held in our capital city. That doesn’t sound bad, but it would be at the direct cost of England international games, as the plan would be to move them to one of the other stadiums in the country.
There are of course, plenty of stadiums capable of holding international games up and down the country from Stanford Bridge to the Stadium of Light and Old Trafford; however, why should they have to be held anywhere else other than Wembley. London is the capital city and okay Wembley in both its incarnations has always been designed to be more than just a football ground, but in terms of football in my mind it is the home of international friendlies and qualifying games for the World Cup and the Euros; as well as being the best venue for the FA Cup.
My point is, and perhaps again this is just me but I seriously doubt it is just me, why should the games of our own international squad be moved from their regular place to make way for NFL games to be played. I am not the biggest fan of English international football and while I hope they get far in competitions, I feel let down badly by their performances on the world and European stages that I only show a general interest and try not to get excited too much.
It is fine to have as many NFL games played at Wembley as they want, but it should not have to be at the expense and sacrifice of English football games. Perhaps others agree with me, if you do I would love to hear from you as some of my friends think I am naïve and that I should be welcoming more NFL games, but I can’t!