Thanks to 13 Years of London Games, NFL’s Popularity Grows in UK

The NFL sold out all four games in London this season

NFL’s Popularity Grows in UK
View of "NFL on Regent Street" in London. (Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty)
NurPhoto via Getty Images
By Evan Bleier / November 13, 2019 12:39 pm

With the Texans taking care of the Jaguars 26-3 Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in Week 9 of the NFL season, the league’s 2019 slate of London games officially came to a close.

Thanks to the four games this season — two at Hotspur Stadium and two at Wembley Stadium — the NFL has now played 28 games in London since the first one 13 seasons ago in 2007.

By all accounts, the series, which sold out all four games this season for a total attendance of 289,041, has gone very well and the NFL is optimistic about its future in the United Kingdom, according to Front Office Sports.

TV ratings for the NFL on Sky Sports have doubled over the last decade and overall viewership rose 32 percent in the UK during the 2018 season. Considering the attendance at the London games this year, that number will likely rise.

Though a Super Bowl isn’t on the way to London, the only team out of the NFL’s 32 that hasn’t yet played a game in London might do so soon if Alistair Kirkwood, the NFL managing director in the U.K., gets his wish.

“With the (Houston) Texans coming over, that means we’ve had 31 of the 32 teams coming over. If you said that would be a good outcome back in 2007, I would have absolutely taken that,” Kirkwood told FOS. “Because that shows a tremendous commitment by the league – and support of what we’re trying to do.”

Overall, the league estimates it now boasts more than 13 million fans in the UK, including four million avid ones.

To help increase that fanbase as well as give it a permanent physical presence in London, the league launched its first NFL Academy for athletes aged 16-18 in the city in September.

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