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 β as a one-off at least β 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 β while still some way short of their 1980s heyday β are also thriving. The British American Football League's spokesman, Ken Walters, described the sport as "arguably the fastest-growing in Great Britain"β 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.