St Louis Rams To Host Season Games In UK
January 20, 2012
St Louis Rams will host a regular season game in the United Kingdom in each of the next three years.
The agreement will see St Louis Rams become the first NFL team to play regular-season games abroad on an annual basis.
The first of the series of games pits the Rams against the New England Patriots at London’s Wembley Stadium on October 28th 2012.
There will be further “home games” in the UK in 2013, prescription and 2014 all of which will be played at Wembley.
Wembley Stadium Managing Director Roger Maslin has stated, discount “This deal, which gives Wembley the exclusive staging rights to all NFL games in the UK for the next five years, cements the extremely positive partnership that exists between Wembley and the NFL and is acknowledgement of Wembley’s position as one of most important and iconic sports venues in the world. We are delighted that the success of previous NFL events, combined with our commitment to making improvement year on year, has given the NFL the confidence to expand their presence at Wembley for the next five years. We look forward to being the home away from home for the NFL for many years to come”.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated, “The response to NFL games in the UK among our British fans has been exceptional. We are confident that having the Rams host one game in the UK in each of the next three seasons will allow us to better serve the growing popularity of our sport beyond the borders of the United States”.
The move comes after the NFL owners approved a resolution that authorized the league to schedule regular-season games in the UK in each of the next five years last October.
Rams Owner Stanley Kroenke who has strong ties in the UK capital as majority shareholder of Arsenal FC expressed his contentment with the agreement.
“This is a tremendous honor for our franchise, the city of St. Louis and our fans throughout the world. We are excited about the opportunity to reach new audiences globally. This is a great platform to showcase the city of St. Louis to London and the UK.
“We’ve seen first-hand the increased popularity of the NFL not only in London but throughout Europe. To play a role in that growth over the next three years will be incredible and is a testament to the many good things happening not only in the NFL but also in the St. Louis Rams organization”.
New England Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft also gave his reaction.
“We are honored to be selected for this year’s game and eager to return.
We had such a great experience during our last visit to London. We are proud to have great support from our fans when we are on the road. The United Kingdom is home to some of our most passionate Patriots fans, including the UK Patriots, who are among our most active fan clubs overall, not just overseas. We look forward to another memorable experience.”
There has been increased NFL fan interest in the UK over the past five years with television ratings up 154% in terms of Sunday viewership and a rise of 74% in Super Bowl audience figures since 2006.
The current fan base is understood to be 11 million, based on the number of people who watched NFL programming last season.
NFL Vice President of International Chris Parson explained the thinking behind the decision to host regular season games in the UK.
“When the initial resolution to play international regular-season games was approved in 2006, the thinking at the time was that we would have two new teams every year.
As the series evolved, we saw that having a team return to the UK on a regular basis would increase fan interest for that particular team, which in turn would drive fan growth for the entire league. We are incredibly excited to introduce a young, talented team like the Rams to our UK fans. And to do so against a team with the rich history and tradition of the Patriots makes it even more exciting”.