How did the NFL London Games Begin?
The NFL London Games are a series of regular-season American football games played in London, United Kingdom. These games are part of the National Football League's efforts to expand its fan base and promote the sport internationally. The NFL London Games began in 2007 with the New York Giants facing the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium. This game marked the first regular-season NFL game to be played outside of North America. The success of this event led to the establishment of an annual series of games in London.
London was chosen as the host city for the NFL games due to its status as a global hub and its passionate sports culture. The NFL saw an opportunity to tap into the large and diverse fan base in the city and create a unique experience for both local fans and international visitors. The sport has consequently had a significant impact on the popularity of American football in the UK. The games have helped increase awareness and interest in the sport, leading to the growth of local football clubs and the development of young talent, some of that talent even reaching the NFL.
Expanding The International Fanbase
The NFL London Games have been instrumental in expanding the league's international fan base. The games attract fans from all over Europe and beyond, providing them with the opportunity to watch live NFL games without traveling to the United States. The NFL has focused its European outreach on London for 15 years, but the league is now expanding to other European countries. In 2022, the NFL returned to Germany for the first time in 15 years, where it found a raucous fan base that it left behind. This expansion could lead to more international games and potentially more NFL teams outside of the US
Special Events and Festivities
Aside from the games themselves, the NFL London Games feature a variety of special events and festivities. These include fan festivals, player appearances, and interactive experiences, creating a vibrant and engaging atmosphere for fans of all ages. This has given many the opportunity to meet many famous faces and names from the NFL world.
The Future of the NFL London Games
The NFL London Games have become a staple of the league's international efforts, and their popularity continues to grow. The success of the games has prompted discussions about the possibility of establishing a permanent NFL team in London in the future, but for now Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, & San Francisco 49ers have announced their 'Global Markets Program'. Ths program enables franchises access to international markets for fan engagement and commercialization activations as part of an long-term plan to help teams to build their brands globally.
The second NFL London game in history remains the most exciting.
The matchup was already captivating, given the teams and quarterbacks involved. Drew Brees had spent the first five seasons of his career with the San Diego Chargers before joining the New Orleans Saints in 2006, and the Chargers had turned to Philip Rivers.
What made it even better was that both quarterbacks had a highly productive day. Brees threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns, while Rivers posted 341 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. New Orleans led 37-20 late in the fourth quarter, but San Diego managed to kick a field goal, recover a surprise onside kick, and score a touchdown to narrow the gap to 37-30. The Chargers managed to forced a punt and gave Rivers the ball with 4:08 remaining and 78 yards to go, this led to Rivers throwing an interception on a 3rd-and-15 play. Brees took an intentional safety to protect the lead, and New Orleans celebrated an exhilarating 37-32 victory.
Will London get a game as exciting as this was at the weekend?