On Tuesday, the NFL owners again announced that football will be played across the pond in London through 2016. NFL games began being played in the UK in 2007 and have continued ever since. The difference between this year’s announcement and that of previous years is that the number of games per season were not determined.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that he wash interested in adding a second London game which has many speculating when the National Football League will add a full time international team.
I’ve never been to an NFL game in London, judging by the quality of the matchups I’m not sure why anyone would, but I have attended several NFL Europe games prior to that league folding in 2007. It was in Germany that I witnessed Europeans at Frankfurt Galaxy football games and there that I determined that football will never catch on internationally like it has in the U.S.
There’s a reason that NFL Europa closed its doors. It’s not because the quality of play was bad, they sold tickets, it’s because 60 percent of the people didn’t know what was going on down on the field and the other 40 percent were just there to have a good time.
I’ve been to a lot of sporting events in my life, but I’ve never seen anything like football in Europe. You thought the vuvuzela’s were bad in the 2010 World Cup? Try having 20,000 people blowing whistles while you’re trying to watch football. That’s what went on at the Commerzbank-Arena when I went back in the early 2000’s.
It’s a nice thought that football, America’s most watched and popular sport, can spread internationally but it’s not going to happen. Europeans don’t care about football and they never will. There’s far too much tradition for their other games. Sending a game there once a year is going to do exactly what it has in the first four years of this experiment, sell out because it’s an annual spectacle, but never create a fan base because Europeans aren’t interested in football.
Although neither are people in Jacksonville and they still got a team.
Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com. You can follow him on Twitter @zamwi or send him an email: email@example.com.