THE SANTA CLARA
October 31, 2013
The National Football League is thinking about making its next big move and in growing the league in the United States and overseas in London, England.
“I want both (London and Los Angeles), but it doesn’t matter which one is first,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The league has an important fan base in England and it has made an effort to expand on an international level by hosting regular season games in recent years at Wembley Stadium in London.
This season alone, there have been two games played in England, one last month between the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers and one more coming last Sunday between the San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Wembley Stadium has hosted this “International Series” since 2007. Since then, there has been at least one regular season game played on British soil. This year marks the first time that two games have been played overseas during one season. Next year, the NFL will ramp up its efforts and have three games at Wembley Stadium.
NFL fans have responded well to the International Series, which has been demonstrated by constant sellout crowds.
“You are proving you are worthy of a franchise,” Goodell said this past Saturday at a forum for European fans.
Goodell is a major proponent for NFL expansion. If the commissioner’s plans are to become successful, the league would not create a completely new team to put in either one of these cities. Instead, one of the current franchises would have to uproot from its current city and relocate either to London or Los Angeles.
Goodell recently stated that if a franchise is given a home in Los Angeles, it would have to “be done the right way.”
A team in Los Angeles would create immense amounts of revenue mainly because of the city’s large population.
It is important to remember that the city of Los Angeles was once the home of two professional teams — the Rams and the Raiders — but for one reason or another, they are not there anymore.
A franchise in London, however, would be the more important. It would open English markets for the NFL and would allow a broader fan base because England natives would have a team to relate to and call their own.
The NFL is obviously seeking expansion, and it is headed in the right direction.
Spreading to both London and Los Angeles would be an important opportunity for the league to develop the NFL image and for the sport to grow on a global scale.
Ivan Munoz is a junior political science and English double major.