The NFL could have a team in London by 2021, according to NFL’s executive vice president of international Mark Waller.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been shy about the fact that I believe we should have a team in the U.K.,” Waller said, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “I’d be disappointed if we didn’t have a team there (in) another seven years at the most.”
Waller believes the league will need to make a decision about their intentions to place a team in the U.K. in the next two to three years.
Waller expects the NFL to host three games in London next season with two of them coming in back-to-back weekends.
The Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins will square off across the pound in Week 4, which according to Pelissero gives the league an idea of how west-coast teams will be able to handle the long flight 8-hour time difference.
“A lot of the things we’ve been doing have been very deliberate assessments of the ability to, both from a logistic and a fan demand standpoint, sustain multiple games and ultimately a season,” Waller said regarding some of the major concerns with an NFL team being located in London.
Pelissero mentions that there is “definitely a change in tone from a year ago” regarding a London-based NFL team as they have already sold 250,000 tickets for three games this year.
One other interesting note from Pelissero’s article is that the NFL is having “extensive internal discussions” about Brazil possibly being a portal for the NFL to reach into Latin America.
“That’s a logical place for us to look next,” Waller said.
The league still hasn’t figured out how to get a team in United States’ second largest market, Los Angeles, but there have been positive steps taken towards it being a more viable option.
The interesting question in scenarios is what teams would relocate or would the NFL expand to enter these markets? I’m sure we’ll have more updates in the coming weeks as games start being played in London.