NFL clubs today approved at a league meeting in New York a resolution which extends the ability to play international regular-season games through 2025 and broadens the league's opportunity to play games in countries other than the United Kingdom.
The decision expands upon the 2011 resolution which permitted the NFL to schedule international regular-season games in the UK through the 2016 season.
"This marks an important step in our long-term international growth," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "Fans in the UK have responded incredibly well to the regular-season games we have played in London since 2007. They have demanded more NFL games, and we have worked to accommodate them. We think it's time to expand our International Series to other countries and respond to the growing interest in our game not only in the UK, but elsewhere around the world."
The 2016 schedule of international regular-season games will be announced later this fall, with other countries in contention to host games next season in addition to the UK.
Earlier this year, the NFL and the English Premier League's Tottenham Hotspur franchise announced an agreement to play a minimum of two games per year during a 10-year partnership at Tottenham's new state-of-the-art stadium, due to open in the summer of 2018.
Wembley Stadium, the site of 12 NFL International Series games to date, including Sunday's contest between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins before a sellout crowd of 83,986, will host two more games this season – the Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars game on October 25 and the Detroit Lions-Kansas City Chiefs game on November 1. Wembley is expected to continue to host NFL games in future seasons.
NFL Fans gathered on Regent Street in London for a NFL Fan Rally.
NFL owners approved a resolution in 2006 to present up to two international regular-season games per season from 2007-2011. The 2011 resolution was UK-focused and permitted the NFL the flexibility to decide the number of UK games from year to year. Today's vote ensures a continuation of international regular-season games through the 2025 season and expands the league's ability to play those games in countries and territories beyond the UK.
Since introducing International Series games in 2007, the NFL has achieved accelerated growth in the UK.
Sunday viewership of NFL games has more than doubled and the Super Bowl audience has increased more than 75 percent since the start of the International Series. The league also has developed new and stronger business partnerships and according to internal research, has a UK fan base of more than 13 million.
Participation in amateur football in the UK has risen by approximately 15 percent per year since 2007, with the latest figures showing that 40,000 people age 16 or older play regularly.
A look at the 12 previous International Series games played at London's Wembley Stadium:
|Date||Visiting Team||Score||Home Team||Score||Attendance|
|October 28, 2007||New York Giants||13||Miami Dolphins||10||81,176|
|October 26, 2008||San Diego Chargers||32||New Orleans Saints||37||83,226|
|October 25, 2009||New England Patriots||35||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||7||84,254|
|October 31, 2010||Denver Broncos||16||San Francisco 49ers||24||83,941|
|October 23, 2011||Chicago Bears||24||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||18||76,981|
|October 28, 2012||New England Patriots||45||St. Louis Rams||7||84,004|
|September 29, 2013||Pittsburgh Steelers||27||Minnesota Vikings||34||83,518|
|October 27, 2013||San Francisco 49ers||42||Jacksonville Jaguars||10||83,559|
|September 28, 2014||Miami Dolphins||38||Oakland Raiders||14||83,436|
|October 26, 2014||Detroit Lions||22||Atlanta Falcons||21||83,532|
|November 9, 2014||Dallas Cowboys||31||Jacksonville Jaguars||17||83,603|
|October 4, 2015||New York Jets||27||Miami Dolphins||14||83,986|