In recognition of a passionate and growing U.K. fan base, the NFL has increased its commitment to the U.K. market by scheduling four games in London in 2017.
Playing four games in the U.K. capital for the first time — half of a home schedule of regular-season games — reflects the rise in the popularity of NFL football in the U.K. and beyond.
“We continue to be incredibly excited by the passion and love for the NFL shown by our millions of U.K. fans,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “London is an amazing city. We have had tremendous support from our fans, from Mayor Khan and other government leaders and business partners, and we are looking forward to taking the next step in the U.K. by playing four games in London next season.”
The NFL has played three games in London to sellout crowds in each season since 2014. With four games in 2017, the league will have played 21 games in the U.K. since the first regular-season game in London in 2007. Teams and venues for 2017 will be announced at 1 pm U.K. time on Tuesday, Dec. 13, via Facebook Live at facebook.com/nfl, with season-ticket renewals beginning at 10 am U.K. time on Thursday, Dec. 15 via Ticketmaster. Additional details can be found at nflUK.com.
“London staging a fourth NFL game is fantastic news — not only for the millions of sports fans who get to enjoy our iconic stadiums — but also because it confirms our status as the go-to choice for hosting the world’s biggest sporting events,” said the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
“London is the international home of the NFL and staging the equivalent of what would be half an American football team’s home games in the city is a huge step towards my ambition of bringing a franchise to the capital.
“I am really excited to welcome more NFL teams to London next year, as well as thousands of American football fans from around the globe, showing that London is open to the very best sporting events and the world’s greatest athletes.”
The NFL has grown in the U.K. since its debut in 2007. Sunday viewership of NFL games has more than doubled, and the Super Bowl audience has increased more than 75 percent. This season, the NFL is on pace to reach a record number of unique TV viewers in the U.K. The league also has developed new and stronger business partnerships and, according to internal research, has a U.K. fan base of more than 13 million, including close to four million avid fans.
Participation in amateur football in the U.K. has risen by approximately 15 percent per year since 2007, with the latest figures from Sport England showing that 40,000 people age 14 or older play regularly. American football is now an officially recognized sport in U.K. universities and schools.