Exclusive: Kirkwood Reveals Steps Needed for NFL London Franchise to Happen

October 26, 2012

By Ismail Uddin

NFL UK Managing Director, Alistair Kirkwood has reiterated that it will take triple the current fan base in the UK for an NFL London franchise to be considered.

Speaking to iSportconnect, Kirkwood revealed what needed to be kept in mind when considering if a NFL London franchise would work.

“I think we would need triple the size (fanbase) of what we are currently at because you are talking about playing week in, week out and it’s a slightly different model, because you’d be supporting a single team in the market as opposed to different teams that keep coming over.”

NFL UK recently announced two regular-season games will be staged in 2013 with Minnesota Vikings hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers along with Jacksonville Jaguars hosting San Francisco 49ers.

Jaguars will become very familiar with Wembley after signing a four-year deal to play in the stadium and Kirkwood believes Jacksonville’s development in the UK is key to any potential London franchise.

“I think Jacksonville is an important development, having a returning team, because we will understand a lot more as a result, but I think that the key message from my perspective is that the NFL work brilliantly well in the States, and I’m really grateful that the owners allow us and empower us to try new things and try and grow in a new market,” he added.

“It’s really important that we get the balance right; that we do things really well but we don’t actually ever do things that would impinge or negatively reflect on the US, so we should continue to grow ambitiously, but not without caution.”