With the ever increasing likelihood that the NFL will station a franchise in London sooner rather than later and despite the popularity of the game here in the United Kingdom at an all-time high the NFL high command would be wish to avoid stationing a permanent team in London.
Even if the NFL high command could come up with a workable solution for what can only be described as a logistical nightmare a team in London makes no logical sense. British fans have a choice of 32 teams and with their loyalty spread far and wide it would be naive of the league to except fans to change allegiance to a team closer to home.
If there is too be any criticism of the highly popular international series it would be its failure to create a distinct home field atmosphere. The games as popular as ever sell out but are filled with neutral fans there for one reason – to enjoy the spectacle that is American football. The lack of home field advantage could be disastrous for a franchise with the effect feeling like the team is playing all 16 games on the road.
The 2014 season introduces British fans to three games for the first time but the NFL remains a novelty for fans to see the action up close and personal. By remaining a novelty the Wembley fixtures encourages fans to travel from all parts of the British Isles knowing this may be their only chance to see live American football.
The worry with a permanent franchise (and if you are to believe the rumours, the Jacksonville Jaguars are the most likely to be shipped across the pond) is that the novelty factor is lost and NFL games become uncompetitive blowouts week in week out. The risk therefore is a backlash from fans refusing to pay upwards of £100 for tickets and a half filled Wembley stadium.
The NFL needs to remain in the UK so it does not disappear like it did in the 1980’s and once again become a passing trend but bringing a franchise is not the answer. The NFL would be better off bringing Monday Night Football to Wembley, banishing the Jaguars for life and providing competitive inter division match ups.