As a Londoner and a massive NFL fan of 25 years who regularly travels to the US for games I must say that a London franchise wouldn't work. There are three main reasons:
1. Time difference as everybody knows. 5 hours with the East Coast, 8 with the West. This doesn't only affect the players and their jetlags, but also messes with TV viewership. Sunday and Monday Night games are 1:30 am here; only nutters like myself sit up to watch them. Our hypothetical team (London Redcoats?
) would always need to play on the Sunday 1pm US slot which is 6 pm for us: fine for home games obviously, and not a problem for away trips to the East Coast. But if they have to play in say Candlestick, they need to start at 9.30 pm our time and finish past midnight. You can't make young fans like this, since they'll all be in bed by then. And what happens if the Redcoats make the Superbowl? It starts at 11:30 at night here.
2. Too many local teams. I'm first and foremost an Arsenal fan as a Londoner. I'm an equally rabid 9ers fan, but that doesn't mess with my local allegiances, what with SF being an 11 hour flight away. London has 6 (out of 20) teams this year in the first division and another 4 in the second. That's 10 major professional teams, just for (our) football. OK, we also have 8 million people, but not even New York can support that many teams.
3. British NFL fans are rabid and there are a lot of us, but we already have teams
. We're all mad about the 9ers, Bears, Patriots, Dolphins, Broncos, Steelers and Giants (these are the most popular teams here). Oh, and the Cowboys
. We couldn't care less about the hypothetical Redcoats.
Even the annual Wembley match which is fun, is more fun as a festival occasion. We wear our own team colours and laugh around in the stands. The silence during the game is eerie and the crowd only gets into it if it's an exciting see-saw contest (we only had one of those ever over here).
The NFL is if anything overexpanded. The next move has
to be moving the Jaguars to LA and re-align divisions; it's ridiculous that the second largest TV market hasn't got a team. All the other options discussed (Buffalo, Minnesota) would mess with historic franchises with deserving fan bases. Jacksonville has had a team for fewer than 20 years, have done squat with it and cannot sell their stadium out. That's it. Canada have their own league. Mexico is interesting, but disposable income there is sadly much lower than in the US, Canada or Britain so I doubt that it would make economic sense for the NFL to open a franchise there.
[ Edited by paulk205 on Oct 10, 2012 at 12:41 PM ]