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-   -   The future of London games (https://forum.nfluk.com/showthread.php?t=116967)

European Bob 27.01.2019 11:28 PM

The future of London games
 
Is the NFL going to have problems filling a slate of games in 2020 or 2021? As things stand, there is very little in the way of teams volunteering to give up home games for international series games, and not too much the NFL can do to force teams to do it. Since 2007 only 13 teams have given up a home game to play overseas, out of 31 games played (including 2019). That tells you that it is the same teams doing it over and again. A lot of the others have no intention of doing so if they are not forced to.

From 2020, the Rams, Raiders and Chargers - an easy source of 'home' teams recently while in temporary buildings - should all be in their new stadiums. They won't be giving up any more home games. We are not due to have any more teams in temporary stadiums now.

We still have the Jaguars giving up one game per year by agreement. Beyond this, the only teams who the NFL can currently force to give up a game are future Super Bowl hosts. However, with only 1 Super Bowl host per year this plus the Jaguars is not enough to sustain the current 3-4 games per year. At the moment, Atlanta, Arizona and New Orleans all owe the NFL one home game overseas, going up to Super Bowl 58 in 2024.

Teams like the Dolphins, Bengals or Bucs might chip in with a home game every now and then. But I don't think they are going to have enough teams wanting to do it to sustain the number of games they seem to want to put on. And while passing a rule to make it mandatory sounds like an easy answer, is it really that easy when it needs owners' approval and more than half the league might be set against it? Including most of the owners who seem to have most sway in league matters, by the way. Those owners know how unpopular the international games are with most US fans. It's one thing giving up a home game when you are Tampa Bay, with a fair-weather fanbase and where you can sell the economic benefits of hosting a Super Bowl to the community; it is quite another if you are Green Bay, Pittsburgh or New England.

Martz 27.01.2019 11:58 PM

You make a good point and I can't really find an ideal solution.

The only thing I could think of is that the Superbowl champions give up one of their home games each year, their fans won't mind that too much, right? They just won the Superbowl and it would be something that the international fans would love as well.

It's either that, or Jacksonville being the home team for four games, that sounds great! :rolleyes::)

goodkarma84 28.01.2019 12:11 AM

the Franchise feels like a best way moving forwards, with the Spurs Stadium they would have a proper home too.



there will always be a set of teams not willing to give up a home game, then those with newish Stadiums and the options will start to look a bit forced.

European Bob 28.01.2019 12:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Martz (Post 2392873)
The only thing I could think of is that the Superbowl champions give up one of their home games each year, their fans won't mind that too much, right? They just won the Superbowl and it would be something that the international fans would love as well.

It is definitely an idea and as you say easier for home fans to 'swallow'. But as with the Super Bowl host, it is only 1 team per year at best (assuming it is neither the Jaguars nor the Super Bowl hosts) and with Mexico too they need at least 5 teams on current planning.

Quote:

Originally Posted by goodkarma84 (Post 2392874)
the Franchise feels like a best way moving forwards, with the Spurs Stadium they would have a proper home too.

there will always be a set of teams not willing to give up a home game, then those with newish Stadiums and the options will start to look a bit forced.

That's my conclusion as well, the franchise. I suppose the challenge would be which one? I don't think anyone thinks expansion is a good idea. I don't think the NFL will bail on the Chargers in LA for a while, it makes their decision look stupid. Which we all know it was, but they aren't gonna admit that.

I think they are missing a trick this year by not having the Raiders do a one-item trial of a full London season. I know Gruden hates flying and all that and there is no reason why Davis should oblige, but it would have been a great test of logistics etc. From what I have heard the Raiders will play in San Francisco instead, at the baseball stadium.

On the new stadiums, I think we are going to see even more of a slowdown than we have had lately on that front. In the late 90s/early 2000s there were so many new stadiums built. Attitudes to public money being used on stadiums makes it much more difficult than it was 20 years ago. Once the Raiders, Chargers and Rams are sorted those were probably 3 of the teams with the worst stadiums in the league. There isn't much in the pipeline either. Washington, Buffalo, Chicago all talk about new stadiums but it is only talk, it is way off. Which does not help the IS in looking for easy home teams.

Then the other point is whether we as a collective fanbase get tired of going to neutral games with no rooting interest. I've said before that I reached that point some time ago. Most haven't yet but it is logical. Trying to get new fans to buy into a London team does make sense.

goodkarma84 28.01.2019 02:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by European Bob (Post 2392877)
It is definitely an idea and as you say easier for home fans to 'swallow'. But as with the Super Bowl host, it is only 1 team per year at best (assuming it is neither the Jaguars nor the Super Bowl hosts) and with Mexico too they need at least 5 teams on current planning.



That's my conclusion as well, the franchise. I suppose the challenge would be which one? I don't think anyone thinks expansion is a good idea. I don't think the NFL will bail on the Chargers in LA for a while, it makes their decision look stupid. Which we all know it was, but they aren't gonna admit that.

I think they are missing a trick this year by not having the Raiders do a one-item trial of a full London season. I know Gruden hates flying and all that and there is no reason why Davis should oblige, but it would have been a great test of logistics etc. From what I have heard the Raiders will play in San Francisco instead, at the baseball stadium.

On the new stadiums, I think we are going to see even more of a slowdown than we have had lately on that front. In the late 90s/early 2000s there were so many new stadiums built. Attitudes to public money being used on stadiums makes it much more difficult than it was 20 years ago. Once the Raiders, Chargers and Rams are sorted those were probably 3 of the teams with the worst stadiums in the league. There isn't much in the pipeline either. Washington, Buffalo, Chicago all talk about new stadiums but it is only talk, it is way off. Which does not help the IS in looking for easy home teams.

Then the other point is whether we as a collective fanbase get tired of going to neutral games with no rooting interest. I've said before that I reached that point some time ago. Most haven't yet but it is logical. Trying to get new fans to buy into a London team does make sense.


a single team expansion seems unlikely and full of problems, i guess someone like the Bengals, given the market situation or others in a similar state might take the chance if they got the offer.

TexanTom 28.01.2019 11:34 AM

I was just thinking of this the other day. Surely a step would be maybe a Jags season opener game in London, and leading to a super bowl? That wouldn’t be a popular choice for most Americans but it would be two neutral teams and it’s not like they have a choice where they play the super bowl as teams? I don’t know about a franchise, doesn’t multiple jaguars home games make more sense, 5 in Jacksonville and 3 in London possibly.

kaldenavn 28.01.2019 12:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by European Bob (Post 2392871)
Those owners know how unpopular the international games are with most US fans.

Do you really think owners care about that?

Of the 28 games to be played in London (including this year), 21 of them have been by teams volunteering to host them. Only five have been hosted by a team in a temporary stadium, and two more by Super Bowl hosts.

2017 was the first season which featured teams required to play an international hame (MIA and LAR in London plus OAK in Mexico City). But whilst they have that opportunity to make use of such teams, it makes no sense for the league not to do so. It does not mean there are not any teams willing to volunteer games.

Also worth remembering, that part of the reason some teams have not volunteered a home game is because they are contractually prohibited from doing so. It is why the Super Bowl rules came into place. So that cities which own stadiums but require teams to play all their games in them will be willing to break that condition in return for hosting a Super Bowl.

It also means the league will not necessarily be able to force Super Bowl winning teams to volunteer games.

How different things may have been had the Rams become London's team. They agreed to do so before anyone thought to read their lease. Although the city allowed them to play their first game in London as it had been scheduled, they otherwise held them to their contract. So the Jaguars became the London team instead, with the blessing of the city, and claim playing here has ensured their future in Jacksonville. Whilst the Rams left St. Louis for L.A.

Whilst it may be a small pool of teams who would be willing to volunteer a game, between those prevented and others like Dallas who would never do so, it is not really a different situation to the Super Bowl also being hosted by the same half dozen cities.

Assuming everything stays as it is that will only require three volunteers per season. And there is always the long rumoured possibility of a second game moving from Jacksonville. It would not be ideal, but it would be workable.

I agree with others though that a franchise is the only option for the future. And that the league will surely hope to have one before the number of volunteering teams becomes too small or repetitive. Whilst profitable as events, the games make a net loss for the league because of all the additional costs, not least paying host teams a million dollars for doing so.

It is a long term investment, and at some point they will need it to start paying off. I cannot see the current system being in place a decade from now, by then they need to have a franchise in place or they will cut their losses. To that extent it is telling they see these games as more beneficial investment than NFL Europe.

The key issue for a franchise will be the upcoming C.B.A. (for 2021 onwards) and domestic television contracts (from 2023). Those will prepare the way for a franchise. Once those are agreed it will then become just a matter of which owner is wiling to relocate or sell, as expansion seems highly unlikely.

Assuming a 2023 start for a franchise, for the sake of simplicity, that would mean only three seasons of needing volunteer teams. And the agreement with the Mexican government only covers to the 2021 season, although that may have been extended a year following last year's cancellation.

Pedal Bin 28.01.2019 04:51 PM

As you all know the Jags are scheduled for a Home game at Wembley until 2020, having already extended the agreement once I'm pretty sure Shad Khan will want to extend it again.

The Jags generate twice as much revenue from the Wembley game than they do from one home game, so I am sure Shad Khan would wish that to continue, as long as 80,000 odd fans still turn up.

Adding an extra home game (or two) at Wembley will not go down well with the Jacksonville fans who are already upset at losing one game to what they call "viability week" (from Team President Mark Lamping's State of Franchise address where he stated they playing in London made the team "more viable in Jacksonville"). They have grudgingly accepted seven meaningful games as opposed to eight if that dropped to six or less there would be a hue drop off in attendance in Jacksonville despite the team being "more viable" :D in London. To be honest I have not heard much talk from any of the team representatives, who I constantly pester when they are over here about all things Jags, about giving up two games. Even the one home game, one away game in consecutive weeks was not viewed with any great enthusiasm.

there seem to be no chatter about the Jags moving. Shad Khan had every opportunity to move the Jags when he bought but instead sunk millions of his own money into the stadium. Unlikely he would do that if his intention was to move the team. He build an indoor practice facility and a concert bowl
at the stadium, along with upgrades across the stadium. The swimming pool and dog park were gimmicks but again, it was all his money he was contributing. All in a building he doesn't own. The Jags lease runs until 2030 so there is no immediate need to relocate either.

With that all said it seem the Jags will only play one Wembley game and that still leaves the NFL trying to find teams to give up a home games. Despite Roger Goodell saying they have plenty of teams wanting to come over, he was vague as to whether that as as the visiting team or as the home team.

European Bob 28.01.2019 05:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TexanTom (Post 2392883)
I was just thinking of this the other day. Surely a step would be maybe a Jags season opener game in London, and leading to a super bowl? That wouldn’t be a popular choice for most Americans but it would be two neutral teams and it’s not like they have a choice where they play the super bowl as teams? I don’t know about a franchise, doesn’t multiple jaguars home games make more sense, 5 in Jacksonville and 3 in London possibly.

I can’t see a Super Bowl being held here. For a start, the NFL doesn’t want Super Bowls starting at 10am west coast time (or even earlier). Nor will the TV broadcaster. It will cost hundreds of millions potentially in advertising revenues through reduced viewing figures. There’s a reason they do 6:30 kickoffs eastern time - everyone can watch the game. But that’s 11:30pm here and I can’t see an event starting that late. It doesn’t work. We also don’t have the weather for it under the NFL’s own rules. They broke the rule once but they haven’t looked to do it again stateside. I also think there would be general uproar if they did that. The Super Bowl is THE game. It is America’s game; it’s one thing taking a regular season game but quite another taking the biggest game of them all.

I think the most viable way if not a franchise might be extending to 17 games and each team plays 1 neutral venue game per year. But you’d need to collectively bargain that.

European Bob 28.01.2019 08:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kaldenavn (Post 2392887)
Do you really think owners care about that?

Of the 28 games to be played in London (including this year), 21 of them have been by teams volunteering to host them. Only five have been hosted by a team in a temporary stadium, and two more by Super Bowl hosts.

2017 was the first season which featured teams required to play an international hame (MIA and LAR in London plus OAK in Mexico City). But whilst they have that opportunity to make use of such teams, it makes no sense for the league not to do so. It does not mean there are not any teams willing to volunteer games.

Yes, I do think the owners care about that. And you see that in their actions in not giving up home games. There is a difference between supporting the IS as a concept and supporting your own team giving up home games; likewise, there is a difference between not caring particularly about the general attitude of US fans to these games and caring about what your fanbase specifically thinks of YOU for agreeing to give up one of their home games.

Hence you get guys like Robert Kraft. Always quick to sing the praises of the IS and what good it does the league. Quite happy to send his team over to play in these games too - two in London; one in Mexico. But has he offered to give up a Patriots home game in the 13 seasons we have had these games? Not to my knowledge. And I think you can be sure that if the Patriots offered, the league and London would bite their hands off. And the Patriots own their stadium so no leasing issues. I have no doubt he cares what his fanbase thinks about the Patriots giving up home games. Maybe he would care less if nobody showed up to Pats games, granted, but they do show up and he does care.

You cite 21 games being 'hosted' in London by teams who volunteered, out of 28. OK, but that is only 12 teams. So even with barely 1/3 of the league covered, you are already getting a lot of repetition. Of those, a number of the 12 were, I think, done in circumstances that no longer apply:

- Saints: This was most definitely part of their post-Katrina recovery period. A way of boosting their profile and promoting New Orleans as a tourist destination. They may also have felt they owed the league for helping them out of that terrible situation. I don't see the Saints volunteering again any time soon, and indeed they haven't been back as a home team for 11 seasons and counting now. They will have to as a Super Bowl host.

- 49ers: They were in ropey old Candlestick stadium at the time. Less likely now they are in the new stadium, albeit not one I would confidently rule out.

- Rams: They were in the ropey old Edward Jones dome. A lot has changed since then. Don't expect any repeats once they are in the new stadium unless they host Super Bowls.

- Vikings: They were in temporary accommodation in the University of Minnesota stadium. I don't expect them to come rushing back as a home tea now they have a new stadium.

- Kansas City Chiefs: This was a surprise one at the time given the fanbase and you have to think Hunt did this as a nod to the league. But he won't do that again if others are dodging their turn.

- Raiders (pre announcing relocation) and Falcons volunteered while in ageing stadiums and wanting or waiting for new ones too. They will come again for Super Bowl tradeoffs, but maybe not much more than that.

- And then it's not part of the IS officially but Arizona gave up one in 2005, again while in a ropey stadium, and haven't been back as a home team since.


That's actually most of them. Dolphins, Bengals, Browns, Jags and Bucs are the ones I would put into the category of "decided they would like to do it and could see them doing so again even if they don't have to and even if it's not due to stadium issues of any kind". You have to think that if other teams had really wanted to do it they would have done so by now. I haven't heard that teams are queuing up at the door to give up home games. The only one I'd maybe put a question mark on is the Panthers, for no other reason than they have a new owner who might want to ingratiate himself with the other owners by taking one for the team, and there are always rumours about the Jets while the owner is the ambassador here. But then it never happens.


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