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"NFL Charms Wembley" - A Brit's blog

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by tedylb, Oct 26, 2009.

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  1. tedylb

    tedylb Rookie

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    From Paolo Bandini of the Guardian:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2009/oct/25/wembley-new-england-patriots-tampa-bay-buccaneers

    An online poll run by Fox Sports last week found that 58% of its readers felt London should host nothing more than a pre-season game. In the comments section of the accompanying article some readers protested that there had not been an option to vote for the UK to get even less than that. ESPN.com's senior writer Len Pasquarelli is just one of a number of leading commentators who has declared himself "against" the idea of hosting regular season games in the UK.

    The reasons for such hostility are manifold and in great part not dissimilar to those cited by opponents of the Premier League's Game 39 proposals. But, if one common complaint does not stand up, it is the suggestion that the league's ability to sell out these games rests solely on, as Pasquarelli put it, "curiosity" among Britons. There is a core of knowledgeable American football fans in Britain that existed before 2007 and who have continued to ensure that – as a one-off at least – this game sells out.

    That core may not be as large as it was during the 1980s, when Channel Four's coverage of the NFL sparked huge interest, but it is also far less transient. It also appears to be growing. According to Alistair Kirkwood, the managing director of NFL UK, Sky has seen the ratings for its NFL coverage grow by 55% compared with the same period last year while Channel Five has seen a 75% increase.

    Britain's own amateur American football leagues – while still some way short of their 1980s heyday – are also thriving. The British American Football League's spokesman, Ken Walters, described the sport as "arguably the fastest-growing in Great Britain"‚ saying it had experienced a 30% increase in participation.

    "The more games that we do here, the more people will see this is built on sporting credibility, rather than just razzmatazz, and we won't be seen just as a circus coming to town," said Kirkwood today. "I'm convinced we've got a bright future."

    Just another NFL Sunday at Wembley? That is exactly what the league was hoping for.

    And: when asked how the NFL picks which teams play in London:

    The truth is that a large part of it has to do with which teams are willing to give up a home game to come over here. I couldn't tell you the full process they go through, but I was talking to Alistair Kirkwood, the managing director of NFL UK, during half-time and he was telling me that whether or not we get two regular season games over here next year depends in part on whether they can persuade two teams to make that sacrifice.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2009
  2. oldskool138

    oldskool138 Rookie

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    Just like soccer is the fastest growing sport here in the US. :p
  3. SEA_Pat

    SEA_Pat Rookie

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    Lucky they didn't hire Ken Walter. If the reporter had snapped the question at him, he'd have punted it out of bounds for 25 yards...
  4. Jared

    Jared Rookie

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    What does the team giving up the home game get in compensation? I imagine they are somehow paid.

    As for who might give up a home game? How about Colts @ Jags? Home team has a weak fan base, and you get another premiere team. It'd be easy to compensate a team who is probably not making as much money off of home games as someone like the Cowboys, Giants, Pats, Steelers, etc.
  5. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    tedylb: I added the link to the article you quoted.

    Please be careful about that in the future. More than two short paragraphs used without link attributuion puts Ian's website at legal risk.

    Thanks for your understanding.
  6. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    Yep, they get a guaranteed sellout instead of a home blackout. Plus the potential merchandising intake from exposure to a new market.
  7. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    I bet more Americans know who Brandon Donovan is than know who won the NHL MVP last year.

    (Which was a revelation to me yesterday when someone here posted that it was some guy from the Bruins???).
  8. A.C Vegas

    A.C Vegas Rookie

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    i don't know i went to the site after a google search they have like 3 levels of leagues and a lot of team
  9. oldskool138

    oldskool138 Rookie

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    Who are the Bruins? :confused:



    ;)
  10. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    BTW: "The notion of staging a Super Bowl in London has been publicly mooted by league officials."

    Now that's the one idea I actually LIKE.

    Why not do the Super Bowl overseas?

    It's supposed to be in a neutral stadium.

    The teams sequester themselves for a week and are told to stay in their hotels.

    The participating teams' fans are going to travel and make a holiday out of it anyhow.

    Why the hell not? (Plus, it would give the Pats an advantage since Northern Europe would have wintry conditions in February - - which is the one reason why the NFL would never accede to it).
  11. upstater1

    upstater1 Rookie

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    You mean Landon?

    The NHL is a niche sport but ice hockey is still m ore popular than soccer in northern cities like Minneapolis, Buffalo, Detroit, Boston, etc.

    Here in Buffalo, the kids are excellent at hockey, boys and girls, and they play teams from Toronto regularly. It's no accident that the #1 choice in the world from the last draft grew up playing in Buffalo.

    So, yes, Soccer is more popular in the US except for northern cities where ice hockey is still pretty big. All of New England, upstate NY, parts of Pa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, Minnesota, Chicago area. Those are the hockey hotbeds.
  12. oldskool138

    oldskool138 Rookie

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    Wembley Stadium has a retractable roof.
  13. Big-T

    Big-T Rookie

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    #51 Jersey

    It doesn't fully close, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff has a retractable roof though.
  14. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey


    Ouch!

    Talk about slipping on a banana peel!

    That kind of screwed up my own point! :D :D :D
  15. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey


    Aside from Massachusetts (barely) and Colorado those are the dying/losing population parts of the U.S.

    And even in Boston or Chicago, the local hockey team is a distant (and falling) fourth place.
  16. Eugene Chung

    Eugene Chung Rookie

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    Hockey has certainly had a tough go of it since the lockout. While certain bigger markets seem to have strong followings, the popularity still seems to lag a little bit behind other sports. However, hockey has seen a big uptick over the past couple seasons. (See Update: Impressive Growth of Television Ratings, Corporate Sales and NHL.com Traffic Highlight Continued Business Momentum of the NHL(R) Through First 100 Games of the 2009-10 Regular Season | SYS-CON INDIA) Ratings and attendance are up according to the figures and that's with DirectTV taking Versus out of its lineup. Still a long ways to go.

    And I don't follow the MLS too much, but it's impressive to me that cities like Toronto and Seattle are outdrawing their baseball counterparts.
  17. Synovia

    Synovia Rookie

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    Chicago (where I am now) certainly. NE? I'm not so sure. The Bruins attendance is awful.
  18. Eugene Chung

    Eugene Chung Rookie

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    Awful is pretty strong. B's are at 95% paid attendance this year. NHL Attendance Leaders - National Hockey League - ESPN

    Granted, actual attendance (and this is purely a guess on my own end), is probably around 75%-85%. I know that NESN's hockey ratings are up (don't have the exact number) and that the 2nd game of the year was the highest rated Bruins opener for NESN in 25 years. Like I said before, still a longs way to go before it gets to the NBA level.
  19. Scouse Patriot

    Scouse Patriot Rookie

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    That patronising attitude towards British fans gets on my t!ts.
  20. gomezcat

    gomezcat It's SIR Moderator to you Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Couldn't agree more. I'm agreeing with a Scouser. What is the world coming to?
  21. Scouse Patriot

    Scouse Patriot Rookie

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    It's because you know who the bigger force is after sunday. :)
  22. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    Our football has the advantage of being the truly superior sport.

    Soccer can only be "enjoyable" if your other option is to have a root canal without novacaine.

    Besides, I would think just the number of Americans in Europe would make one game per year a sellout.

    Has anybody ever watched soccer faint in pain and see those clowns fake an injury during contact?

    The World Cup can end in a shootout or whatever they call that ?

    What's up with that?
  23. Big-T

    Big-T Rookie

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    #51 Jersey

    Reading some of the comments on this site do the Americans think only Soccer is watched in the UK? because there's 2 types of Rugby (League & Union) that a lot of people watch, cricket which is watched by probably nearly as many people as Soccer, as well as less common occuring sports which attract decent crowds.

    Football does have an advantage over Soccer with it being physical and no players rolling around on the floor pretending to be injured, or acting like they've been shot, but Rugby has the same advantages in that respect.

    Based on what people over here say, people don't like/watch Football because it's "too slow" or "because they wear too much padding" etc, and that's what the NFL will have to get round to make the sport a big player in the UK sports scene.
  24. oldskool138

    oldskool138 Rookie

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    Well, considering football was almost banned in the US (back in the early 1900's) because of all the injuries and deaths that were happening pre-pads, I doubt the NFL or players union would sanction a padless NFL game.
  25. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    I wonder how many guys would like to encounter Big Vince on the pitch with zero pads?

    Perhaps a few years back- Beckham vs Rodney?

    My guess is it all comes down to the two fanbases having no clue what they are actually watching.
  26. Covert

    Covert Rookie

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    Now I'm a football fan, but you should watch some high-level rugby union sometime. Those guys tackle as hard as football players and with much better form. The big guys aren't as big (300 pounds, tops), but top-level locks, loose forwards and three-quarters have all the physical attributes to make *evil* football players. Incidentally, many of the best rugby players are, like Seau, able to trace their heritage back to Pacific Islanders...

    But there are guys everywhere in top rugby who'd have made decent NFL prospects. Someone like Martin Johnson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Johnson_(rugby_union)) - 6'6", 260lbs, can handle the ball at least as well as any NFL player, fiercely smart, and hits like a maniac. He'd be a world-class linebacker/FB/TE if he'd played football from an early age.

    That's something which gets lost in the NFL-team-in-Europe discussion. If there's a team based here, and there's serious effort to mine the talent pool, there'll be more Vollmers and there'll be guys like Martin Johnson (or Jason White, 6'5"/240lb of hitting venom and former Scotland captain) who wind up playing NFL ball. It has a real chance to grow the talent pool.
  27. Rossmci90

    Rossmci90 Rookie

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    Wilfork would be absolutely useless in a 'soccer' game.

    Being a fan of both sports, i really hate the ignorant trash spouted by idiots like this guy on either side of the 'argument'. They're different sports, they require a different set of skills and body type. Get over it and stop being so childish.
  28. Big-T

    Big-T Rookie

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    #51 Jersey

    Then from the other code of Rugby there's:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Taylor_(rugby_league)
    who NFL teams were scouting until he signed for the Rabbitohs, and Willie Mason, another Australia international who was in the Jets training camp a few years back as a defensive end.

    Although to say Martin Johnson hit like a "maniac" is pretty poor considering a big hit in Union is nothing comapred to in League and the NFL (no shoulder charging...really? :rolleyes:) In fact didn't he play 1 game at TE for someone but left the game early because he couldn't handle it?
  29. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    Tampon on too tight?

    Get a grip Maurice Ronald.

    My point is that wearing "pads" doesn't make American football wussy.

    Also, note the fanbase comments. Watching the "finer points" of soccer is as brain dead as reading your comments.
  30. Kasmir

    Kasmir Rookie

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    What could possibly be the point of chastising UK American Football fans -- who are even NE Pats fans -- for not renouncing soccer? Are you practicing for a later go at Red Sox fans, perhaps?

    Football American style happens to be the only professional sport I care to follow these days. I don't like soccer, but I don't much care for baseball or hockey either. Still, I don't feel a need to attack fans of other sports to justify my focus on football. I understand that some fans manage to care about more than one sport at a time.

    Why are you picking such a pointless fight with fellow Patriot fans?
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2009
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