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Old 13.09.2017, 06:04 PM
Spenspuma Spenspuma is offline
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Default Is the NFL International Series popularity waning?

I only suggest this as looking at the secondary market this year, the prices are around half what they were this time last year.

Take the 1st game....with 2 weeks to go last year you'd be luck to get a ticket for less than £120.....now looking at getmein you can tickets for £39 each..and lots going still.

Take the biggest game the Dolphins...tickets are going for £80.....the big game last year the tickets were around £160 at this point.

Does this suggest that maybe the popularity of the international series is waning? Or maybe we've found our level of games (4)...or maybe the games given this year are not as appealing...although that doesn't wash as the Dolphins game is also strangely cheap now.

I tend to think 2 games a year is ideal...it keeps the interest up and makes it more a spectacle.

I honestly don't think there's enough interest in a UK based franchise....youd end up with half empty stadiums some weeks.
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Old 13.09.2017, 08:50 PM
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Dont take much notice of the secondary market myself, being a ST holder, but if prices have halved to a more "normal" price, then good. Maybe it will stop people/sites bulk buying.

As to whether the matchups are less enticing than previous years, id say that they arent. Some big franchises with strong UK fanbases, decent or up and coming players and fairly decent 2016 win percentages. I think 2015 was a weaker lineup, both pre and post game, Jets @ Phins, Lions @ Chiefs and Bills @ Jags.

Is four games too many? For me personally, its probably the max i could make in a season, due to other commitments. Also think it does detract a little and as much as i like a live game, id probably rather be watching the Giants (fortunate enough to be at the game last year).
Preference would be 2 per year if im honest.

Reality is Wembley and New White Hart Lane are signed up for 2 games per year each through 2020 and 2028 respectively so expect 4 games to stay.
Also expect WHL tickets to be more lucrative being a new stadium and capacity at 61,000 compared to Wembleys 85,000, ergo those game tickets will be pricey on the secondary market (match-up dependent).

Are the games in decline? I'd argue no, but we are perhaps seeing a plateau in demand. Been ticked of fans "bucket list". People more interested in their own teams game or not that concerned about missing "the" game as there are more than one available.
They are almost certainly here to stay for the foreseeable future though.
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Old 13.09.2017, 09:22 PM
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It's an interesting question. Funnily enough, I have the same suspicions as you do. But the conclusion I reach from it is polar opposite.

The games are selling out still, and fast. This is a big positive. In some cases before even reaching general sale. But I do wonder how much potential there is to (a) keep on selling these tickets to the same people at the same rate, and (b) keep attracting new people. I think to some extent this is what you are seeing on secondary market prices - more or less everyone who wants a ticket now can get a ticket. They are not hard to come by. They might be hard to come by at first point of sale but it looks like touts snap them up and then list them for sale. However, if the floor drops out of the resale market then touts will stop doing that. When there are 4 games it is a lot easier to be pickier and just choose 1 or 2 or even 3. It's also a big commitment to expect someone to go to 4 games in 8 weeks. When there is 1 game, you either go to that one or none at all.

But here is why I think the opposite to you with respect to a franchise: The conclusion I draw is that it makes a franchise necessary to secure the long-term future of the game here. I am tired of watching neutral match-ups. I am not the only one. I used to go to 3 games, then I scaled it back to 2, now this year I am going to 1 out of 4. And I live in London, so it is nothing to do with travel time. Nor to do with my interest in the NFL. I have several friends in the same city in a similar position, in two cases not bothering with any games at all this year. I've been to Pittsburgh, I've seen the Steelers on the road in America. I don't want to watch Jags-Colts at Wembley anymore. I don't care, it's not my team. I've seen enough live games now that I'm past the "wow, a live football game" stage where you'll watch anything just because it's there. I prefer watching the Steelers on TV. If you think about it, this is no different to how fans are of the more established team sport, soccer. If I have a spare Spurs ticket for Wembley, I am not even going to bother asking friends or colleagues who are Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham, Man United fans if they want it - of course they don't. Sure, they like football, but not Spurs. They want to watch their own team. I am now at that point with NFL, 10 years into the London game experience. Others will gradually follow as well. Currently, if we have a spare ticket going in our group of NFL London season tickets I can be pretty confident of shifting it to someone who 90% of the time won't be a fan of either team. But that has a real shelf life in my opinion.

Which brings us to the new fans or casual interest people who are buying or have bought in the last 1-2 years London game tickets for the first time. These people are currently at the stage where they are curious about the NFL or getting into the NFL and are happy to buy a ticket to watch a game, most probably any old game. But these people will not stay like that forever. It will most likely go one of two ways: either they really get into it and become a fan of one team, which is natural for an NFL fan, or they lose interest. The latter will stop buying tickets - you're not going to come back year after year after year if only mildly interested. The former may well in time also grow tired of watching random matchups between 2 teams they don't care about, particularly if it means missing their own team playing on Gamepass. Which means that you constantly need to keep replacing these people if you want to shift tickets, particularly if it is several games a season.

The reason I favour a franchise is this: sport is better when you have a rooting interest. If you have a rooting interest it gives you a reason to stay invested. At the moment with these random games, there is no real continuity except for the Jaguars once a year (but 3 games don't involve the Jags still). You go to a game, you watch Jets-Dolphins, you liked it, you decide to become a Jets fan, and then what? Next year's fixtures come out... No Jets. Instead you get to watch teams you're not interested in or even your division rivals, but no Jets. It's not great continuity is it? Others stay casual fans because they can't get into a team as the teams are forever changing. It hasn't helped that the one-off 'home' team in most games has stunk out the place. If you put a team in London there is an obvious choice as to who new fans to the sport should support, much more obvious than now. Every game in London, they are there. It has a UK focus, it will be covered in the local media in a way that the US based teams are not. It can grab people's attention more easily. And if they have a rooting interest they are more likely to come back to watch more games.

A London franchise at a 60,000 stadium like Tottenham's is the best long-term solution, in my view. And before anyone says it, yes, I know that existing fans mostly have their own teams already. Me included. But the point is that you've already lost me and I'm not going to keep showing up at neutral games. I've been to 12 or 13 but I've grown weary of it. Increasingly it is not about us diehard fans of a US team anymore, it is about the next lot of fans coming through. And turning those people into London fans will help preserve the game in this country in terms of games being played here.

I would finish by saying that if the NFL was to stick to 1 game a year I would favour it being the Jags and encouraging new fans to get behind the Jags. But the NFL is clear that it wants more than 1 game here and wants to exploit the market further and that means additional non-Jags games. So I think the long-term answer has to be a franchise.
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Old 13.09.2017, 09:38 PM
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I should make an extra point about tickets and going to watch games in stadiums generally, which is that despite the NFL being more popular than ever in America, stadium attendances are struggling in many places. LA and San Francisco had very poor crowds last weekend - see photos here. https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/09/10/49...tadiums-photos

In some cases we are even seeing half empty stadiums where the tickets were all or mostly sold.

The way people watch their football is changing. Many are preferring the comfort of their own homes, with HD coverage, friends together, good food, cheap beer, no queues for the bathroom and no time spent getting to/from the sofa over a trip to the stadium now and sitting in what can be hours of traffic in the way home afterwards.
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Old 13.09.2017, 09:47 PM
Spenspuma Spenspuma is offline
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I do wonder if the dates of the games this year is a drawback...ie....both sets of games being the week after one another.

I would much rather see the games spread out...week 1...6....11 and 15..something like that.. so you get 1 game in each month....rather than 4 in 2 months. Plus have it Wembley.Twick..Wemb..Twick.....so if you want to only go Wembley then both games are 2 months apart.

This year im going to both Wembley games and to be honest the thought of driving to London twice in 8 days does take the edge off things.
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Old 13.09.2017, 10:17 PM
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All valid points there Bob. However we (the fans) are still running up against the NFL propaganda of "500,000 fans in Regents Street", "Season tickets sales increasing", "10, 000,000 million NFL fans in the UK".

Bottom line is the games has sold out (less team returns) so Ticketmaster, Wembley and the NFL have all got their money. As always there will be large blocks of empty seats that the touts at Via-Go-Go, Get Me In, etc. could not get rid off. Plus there seems to be a growing number of season ticket holders who will not go to all the games and just cherry pick the games they want and take the hit of possibly not selling their spare tickets. That the secondary market prices is falling is not the greatest indicator that the interest in the NFL is on the wane. If there are still unsold general tickets in August that would set off some alarms.

The "add ons", Traflagar Square, Regents St, etc are now starting to be cut back. Just one Regents St event for the, ahem, 500 000, NFL fans again this year. Is this an attempt to see what the actual level of interest is by the NFL?

Back to back games I think is a test of fans as well? It would seem that this year (from sales alone) there does not seem to be a problem. However if they want a franchise, which is what the NFL are pushing, from a logistic standpoint the game would likely to be played in blocks of three or four back to back.

The new Spurs stadium with its reduced capcity may assit if a drop off in attendance occurs but so far, as far as the NFL is concerned, season tickets sales up up. Game sell out. All is good in the world.

May we live in interesting times!
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Old 13.09.2017, 10:29 PM
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I agree with a lot of what European Bob says and if im honest me and my mates are currently where he and his were a couple of years ago. The draw and novelty is probably only a year or two from wearing off - 3 of the 5 of us have seen our team play over here, which is the main draw of people going to the games. The game(s) are almost an annual semi-social event for us, but 4 in close succession feels excessive. Realistically we should forego STs.

The long term vision is a quandary and like Bob says, there probably needs a commitment of a either a US franchise (jags?) or the establishment of a UK one (less likely) to captivate UK fans, both old and new, in order bring longevity to the Project.
But what is the overall goal of the Project? I think the NFL needs to seriously start asking themselves this and to speak publicly about it. We are 10 years down this road afterall.
"Growing the game" is far too vague.
To me its either about: growing the fanbases of the current 32 teams by luring overseas fans to an allegiance (nothing wrong with that) OR creating an overseas round of games OR a league expansion involving an overseas franchise.
All 3 are fundamentally about the $s and at the moment the NFL want to keep all 3 options on the table until one or more becomes less viable. Having ones cake and eating it, comes to mind.
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Old 13.09.2017, 11:59 PM
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I find myself in the same position as Bob. I declined to renew my season ticket and won't be going to any of the games this year. If I do go back it'll be if the Raiders return or a particular player I want to see (e.g., Aaron Rodgers). I just came to the conclusion I much prefer watching the games at home.
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Old 14.09.2017, 05:08 AM
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Personally, I had not regularly attended sporting events. I had gone, when I could, to see football matches for a couple of seasons and attended the occasional rugby international. It had not occurred to me to travel to London to go to an NFL game until my wife suggested it.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have been a regular attendee every year. The year the IS was increased to 2 games, I went to both. The travel/time off aspects prevent me from going to more than 1 game a year now though.
I can understand the point made as far as watching your team on Gamepass vs a neutral live NFL game and that, for people living nearer London, there would be more incentive to go to support your team. From my position, it is about attending an NFL weekend and looking at the schedule to choose the weekend to go.
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Old 14.09.2017, 06:19 AM
Spenspuma Spenspuma is offline
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I really do think the fall in secondary ticket prices is 100% down to the popularity falling.

I'd say around 50% of the tickets were purchased officially by those wanting to sell on...be that touts..those wanting to make a quick buck or those season ticket holders not going to all games....

In previous years the secondary market has seen mainly very very very high prices.. especially this close to the games....this year prices are falling and falling...which is due solely to supply and demand....demand being so low that prices are less than half what they were last year and still falling.

This to me is a clear indication that we have got a turning point in where the UK sees the demand for nfl here....2 games yeah no problem...3...hmmm...and 4 a big no no for many.

Yes to the NFL the tickets sell out quickly but it's a false projection as half a brought by those having no inclination to go to watch it, just to try and make money out of it.
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