Sassenach wrote:I don't live in London, but a couple of my friends are big NFL fans. One of them supports the 49ers (he actually got married in San Francisco, in part to give himself a chance to go to a game at Candlestick Park on his honeymoon) and the other is a fan of the Lions. They've both made the trip down to London to watch when their respective teams have been in town. They loved the experience, but they paid a fortune for it, not just in terms of ticket prices but in train fares and hotels. Would they do it again if instead of getting to watch their adopted team they were watching a London franchise ? In truth I tend to doubt it. British sports fans are not so fickle as you are in the US. Most British people who are into NFL already have a team that they support and they're not going to change it just because there's now a London franchise.
As it stands the London games are hugely profitable for the NFL because British fans are willing to pay a massive premium for tickets just to get the chance to watch regular season games here. That wouldn't continue though. Nobody would give a toss about the new London franchise and so it would be reliant upon the relatively small contingent of British NFL fans being wiling to shell out for incredibly overpriced tickets for 8 games a year to go and watch a team that they don't even support. From what I know of British NFL supporters, I really don't see it working out too well. They already have a team and aren't in the market for another one. More can be less.
English fans should wait a bit to see if the NFL, itself, does not collapse under its own hubris and liability. Hubris
from the NFL's ongoing and increasingly bald extortion of money, tax exclusions, and other perks from cities (politicians) for the meaningless "privilege" of building sports arenas, turning over parking fees, naming rights, seat license fees (in order to buy season tickets), and other funding sources to the NFL and its local franchise (team), which may be owned by somebody that does not even live in the State. Hubris from by an organization (like the Olympic Committee) that gouges local areas even further by the fees and perks the NFL demands in order to host the Superbowl. All of this comes under the dubious and completely false pledge that sports arenas are sources of economic growth. Why, the return is so good that instead of the NFL simply building the arenas, they blackmail cities to cough up the taxpayer's money or they will take the team elsewhere. I believe the NFL finally gave up its phony "NPO" status with regard to tax liability. And then there is the new policy of charging Superbowl Halftime musicians for the privilege of performing. Did I mention the scurrilous practice of charging fans "license fees" for the privilege of buying season tickets?Liability
because the NFL is coming under more and more scrutiny for its lack of support for retired and injured players, as former players start suing the NFL. The NFL's pitiful handling of problem players (those with criminal records, those that get arrested during the season) continue to make the NFL look like a bad reality TV show. Then there is the NFL's ongoing head-in-the-sand attitude about team owners who have their own legal issues, such as owners being sued for breach of contract in their other businesses and getting sued again for other possibly illegal business practices.
Of course, the die-hard fans just consider this part of the price to pay for having a Gen-you-whine NFL team and state-funded arena where they have the privilege of paying huge ticket prices (England is not the only one getting gouged), high parking fees, outrages prices for so-so food, and increased prices for food and drink because of the additional taxes cities must levy to help pay off the stadium that is going to earn them so much money.
In other words, Londoners should walk away fast and stick with their own football. The only people who win in American Football is the NFL and its team owners.