We received another indication this week that the NFL intends to eventually expand across the Atlantic Ocean, with commissioner Roger Goodell saying during a speech at NYU that the league will look to expand its annual series in London to three games "pretty soon," while also suggesting that placing a franchise there is a goal.
Goodell indicates the NFL's hope is to eventually put an actual franchise in London. League likes the reception games are getting there.
— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) June 4, 2013
This is business. All business. The NFL wants to globalize the game in order to maximize profits because they've basically tapped the entire America marketplace. The only city left to invade (or re-invade) in the United States is Los Angeles. ESPN sports business reporter Kristi Dosh connects some dots:
Goodell said at NYU today the NFL will soon have three games a year in London. I maintain team in LA will come when team in London added.
— Kristi Dosh (@SportsBizMiss) June 4, 2013
That's a strong possibility, but Goodell also seemed to suggest Tuesday that the Jacksonville Jaguars could become a consistent fixture in the United Kingdom. If that's the case, you'd also have to think that the commish and his staff have identified that team as a weak link that could be a candidate to move. That's not surprising considering how long the Jags have been talked about in this respect, regardless of the fact they've experienced a recent boost at the box office.
Toronto is always a wild card, and I don't just say that because I'm located here. It's strange on the surface that the NFL is so gung-ho about London expansion when it still doesn't occupy three of the four most populated cities on this continent, which is why you'd have to believe they're thinking big regarding the next expansion (and believe me, there'll be a next expansion).
Nobody wants a 33-team league. They'll leap to 34, with London and L.A. topping the list and Toronto serving as a fallback or darkhorse. All three cities have massive Fortune 500 presences that can't be ignored.
It's no longer if or how, but when.