Is the only truly American sport left being exported overseas? Why on earth would the NFL even be in preliminary talks to move the Super Bowl, the most watched event in America each year, to London where virtually nobody actually cares about the game? I understand the fact that both regular season NFL games played in London have sold well but it really has to do more with the spectacle for European fans than it does with an interest in the game. As well, a good portion of tickets sold were purchased by US service men and women stationed overseas.
Wembley Stadium is the world’s highest capacity covered seat stadium with 90,000 seats which is 10,000 more seats than the current highest capacity NFL stadium FedEx Field. Can the NFL be so money hungry that it would deny fans the chance to see their favorite team play on the biggest stage? I have found an AP report from October 15, 2007 in which Roger Goodell himself states that the NFL was looking at putting a Super Bowl in London, even though as recently as two days ago Goodell denied the reports.
I personally think that moving the Super Bowl outside of the US is a terrible idea. The NFL is interested in globalizing their market, and quite frankly what business wouldn’t want to, but the NFL just isn’t popular in Europe. The NBA has taken root overseas because it is a non-contact finesse sport there, and as any player from the USA men’s team will tell you their game is different. It has been Europeanized and even the rules have changed. I have personally been to Europe twice and have found that many Europeans have a great disdain for what they snidely call American Football. One only has to look at the dissolution of NFL Europa to see the writing on the wall. At the time of its disbanding there were only six teams in the league, 5 of which played in Germany where the US has military facilities and service men and women stationed year-round.
The regular season games that have been moved to London are quite enough. Many “fans” didn’t even stay past the third quarter for the first game between the Dolphins and Giants. Not to mention the fact that fans of the “home” team miss out on a regular season game, which is a big deal because as of today there are only 8 regular season games played in front of the home crowd each season. The local economy of the team selected as the “home” team for these charades also suffers in the process much like New Orleans a year ago. New Orleans specifically represents a city that could use any boost to its local economy, but I suppose the NFL thought it could make more money by moving one of the Saints’ games to London instead of holding it at home.
The Super Bowl is already so tainted by the incredible amount of sponsors and ridiculous attempt to advertise everything at all times, how much more can the fans take? Would we at home have to sit through European commercials as well? It is hard enough to get Joe fan to the Super Bowl with all of the corporate sponsored seats sectioned off. Business men and women often outnumber the real fans of those teams actually playing, and they like many Europeans could really care less about the game and just go to say they were there. How much more difficult would it be for the average fan to purchase a plane ticket to London, take the eight hour flight and all the other nonsense involved with a trip of that magnitude, to get to the Super Bowl.? Not to mention the players who should be rewarded with making it to the Championship instead of having to spend a week being gawked at by the foreign press along with the regular media scrutiny they receive.
Moving the Super Bowl to London is just a horrible idea. Here is another suggestion Mr. Goodell, if you would like to move regular season games how about moving one of the Cowboy’s games to Mexico City. Oops I forgot they just opened a new stadium, so I don’t suppose you will make a move that makes sense because the NFL stands to make more with games at the Boys’ new digs.