Amid statements and confirmations from a certain journo that the Jaguars
are indeed moving to London, lets take a look at some practicalities of the scenario.
At this point it seems that everyone is looking at this from the angle of why the Jags wouldnt go, but look at it like this, would London, or the UK for that matter, be able to cope with a full time NFL franchise?
forget for a moment the logistics of getting 8 teams (not counting preseason) across here to London, and shipping the London team to 8 US cites, the various taxes involved, and the fact that we do not use any kind of draft system in English sport (tell a newly drafted kid from Hawaii he is moving to London? yeah ok).
Messers Goodell and LaCan-watsisname seem to forget that there is already a large sporting culture in England.
There are 41 football (from now on I will refer to soccer as football. I am English, after all) clubs in London alone.
13 are in the professional football leagues, 6 are in the EPL.
Even though it is played mostly through the summer, there are two cricket teams in London.
Four of twelve professional Rugby Unions Aviva Premiership are from London.
There are also two Rugby League teams from London.
There are also three American football teams and a few ice hockey teams, none of which are exactly high profile.
It is also important to remember that the 4 professional football leagues contain a total of 92 teams, of which the farthest from London itself is Carlisle, which is just short of a 5 hour drive away. So the entire of the UK is a target for this Londn NFL team? but why would I travel 3 to 5 hours to see them when I can stay in my home town and watch the local football team?
(lets not forget that the north of the country also hosts more rugby league)
the above link is a website showing the average attendances for all 92 (plus the top non-league division) clubs for the 2012-13 season.
Remember that in the EPL there are 38 games a season,and in the championship, league 1 and league 2 there are 46 games. Plus two major cup competitions.
Also there are many occasions where we play 2 games in a week, one on Saturday, one on Tuesday night.
here are the top and bottom average attendances for each division:
EPL - Manchester United - 75530 (capacity 75769)
- Queens Park Rangers - 17779 (capacity 19148)
Championship - Brighton & Hove Albion - 26236 (capacity 22374)
- Peterborough United - 8215 (capacity 15314)
League 1 - Sheffield United - 18612 (capacity 32609)
- Bury - 2749 (capacity 11669)
League 2 - Bradford City - 10322 (capacity 25136)
- Accrington Stanley - 1675 (capacity 5057)
Conference - Luton Town - 5882 (capacity 10300)
- Gateshead - 618 (capacity unknown)
so I guess what I am trying to say is that with this many people spending anything from £10 to £50 a game on tickets, how can you possibly expect to get a minimum of 60,000 people to cough up a minimum of £45 a game to watch an NFL team in London. Its great as an anual novelty, but come on man!
And my final point is this. Where are you planning to house this team?
Wembley? Well you cant have it. Its our national stadium, and is only used for special events. So lets share with a football club? Yeah right. with the turf carved up 8 weeks of the year preventing any kind of decent football not to mention that there are very few large capacity grounds in the city.
What about that Olympic stadium? Well here is the thing. First of all, two football teams have been fighting over it since we won the hosting rights back in 07, second, the plan was to remove the upper teir reducing the capacity to 20,000.
So build a new stadium. Just like that? a 60,000 seater stadium for 8 games a year? In London? where? how? when? It took years to build Wembley. And cost millions.
So thats my thoughts on the matter. Nothing to get worked up over, just another Goodell pipe dream, pushed forward by a lazy journolist.
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