NFL to Play Three Games in London Next Season as Interest GrowsErik Matuszewski
The National Football League will play three regular-season games in London next season, with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders hosting the contests at Wembley Stadium.
Two games are being played in the U.K. capital this season for the first time and the NFL said it added a third date in 2014 in response to growing fan support in London. Regular-season games have been played at Wembley annually since 2007.
“Our fans in the U.K. have continued to demonstrate that they love football and want more,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in an e-mailed statement.
The game dates and opponents for each club will be announced later this season.
The NFL said increasing exposure in the U.K. is an “important step” in the league’s international development. New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft is among those who have said they’d like to see an NFL club based in London within the next decade.
The Minnesota Vikings’ 34-27 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 29 drew a crowd of 83,518 to Wembley. The Jaguars host the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 27 in this year’s second game in London. Jacksonville has also committed to playing a home game in the U.K. in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
“The Jaguars have a broader worldwide fan base today and the anticipation for our London game later this month is shared by our loyal fans in Jacksonville, so it’s a perfect scenario for everyone,” Jaguars owner Shahid Khan said. “The energy and appetite for the NFL in the U.K. is incredible.”
The NFL said the U.K. has an NFL fan base of 12 million and participation in amateur football in the U.K. has risen approximately 15 percent each year since 2007.