The National Football League is aiming its cross-hairs across the pond to bring more regular season games to England. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated at a conference in New York University the likelihood of the Jacksonville Jaguars to play two home games a year in London.
Annually, the city of London have always been gracious host of these games ever since NFL started scheduling its games last 2007, even having two games in 2012. American football’s popularity amongst football (soccer)-charged London fans have motivated the NFL to plan a third game as early as next year. Also, commissioner Goodell has long been playing with the idea of possibly bringing the mother of all NFL events, the biggest American football festival known as Super Bowl, outside the country and possibly in London. But this burgeoning emergence of the NFL in the global market is still not enough to completely cement its foundation outside the United States. In 2005, cellar dwellers the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals were pitted against each other in front of a record crowd of 103,467 at Azteca Stadium in Mexico. But in spite of the massive reception of Mexican fans, the NFL has not returned to this South American country.
Without a doubt, the NFL’s interest of performing in the global stage has always been evident, but constrictions on the scheduling and travel have always hindered the league’s capabilities of consistently setting up its brand outside the US. It has always been a tough task for a niche game, like American football, to penetrate the international borders of the globe. Similarly, the game of poker has experienced the same growing pains while trying to reach out to a wider audience. Even though poker was not as popular in the United Kingdom as it was in the United States, UK’s Texas Hold’em poker players have been flying under the radar and were busy honing their skills ahead of major poker tournaments like the World Series of Poker. Eventually, with the help of modern day technology, online poker sites such as partypoker have made its presence felt in the poker universe. And more players from the United Kingdom started to come out from the obscure empire of online poker to the highly dangerous field of live poker. Top UK online player, Chris Moorman, may probably be the best example of successfully upgrading his online game to the live poker tables, where players are more critical and observant about every body language and tell.
With many Premier League clubs upgrading their stadiums, the October 27 game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the San Francisco 49ers at the Wembley Stadium could just be a prelude to bigger and better things to come for the sport. And with NFL commissioner Goodell’s utter determination, all the constraints regarding the logistical dilemma and the skepticism about the long-term possibility of having an NFL team in London may be shoved aside and expose more exciting frontiers for the sport.