THE mayor of London has fuelled speculation that the NFL is set to introduce a team in the English capital.
During a Q & A session on Twitter, Boris Johnson admitted that there have been organised talks about the NFL having a London-based team.
“We are working hard on deal [sic],” Johnson said.
“High hopes for Tottenham in the next few years … watch this space.”
The news came on the same day English Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur revealed more detailed plans for the ‘Northumberland Development Project’, a new stadium worth A$870.8 million.
Scheduled to open in 2018, the Spurs’ new home ground will be the largest team football stadium in the city, with a capacity of 61,000, a vast improvement on White Hart Lane’s 36,000 capacity.
In addition to state-of-the-art football facilities, there will also be NFL specific features, such as three tunnels (one for football and two for NFL teams), and a retractable pitch.
This is no accident.
Earlier this year Tottenham football club agreed to a 10-year partnership with the NFL which would see a guaranteed two games held at the new Tottenham stadium every year as part of the league’s International Series. Currently three regular season games are played at Wembley Stadium.
This year the series will feature the Dolphins v Jets in Week 4, Jaguars v Bills in Week 7, and Chiefs v Lions in Week 8.
The NFL International Series has been going strong in the UK since 2007, but there have been persistent rumours about the NFL’s desire to give London a team of it’s own.
In April, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke at Northwestern University and was asked if the league would move to Los Angeles or London first.
“There is going to be a heck of lot more football in the U.K,” Goodell said.
“We’d like to be in both markets someday.”
Johnson has long been campaigning to bring a team to London.
When the NFL agreement with Tottenham’s new home stadium was announced in July, Johnson outlined the long-term view for the partnership.
“We are already working very closely with the NFL, including on plans to get more Londoners involved in the sport,” Johnson said.
“Touchdowns in Tottenham can only add to our reputation as a global sporting powerhouse, and help us take another step towards our goal of having a permanent NFL franchise here in London.”