NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told NFL fans in London on Saturday that bringing a team to London was a priority for him and the league, even if it comes at the expense of bringing a franchise back to Los Angeles, according to ESPN.com.
“I’d love to be back in Los Angeles,” Goodell said. “But it has to be done the right way, we have to do it successfully. …
“I want both (London and L.A.), but it doesn’t matter which one is first.”
A statement like this is sure to make waves back home. The NFL is the unquestioned king of American professional sports and using league resources to make a grand effort to bring a team to Europe while leaving the nation’s second-largest media market without one doesn’t make a lot of sense at its surface, especially to L.A.’s football-starved fans.
But the NFL is a business, and globalization is a must to realize the league’s full potential. It’s one of the reasons David Stern managed to pull the NBA out of two work stoppages over the last 15 years and see the league flourish today. Local players like Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash are all international icons and can attribute the league’s efforts over the last two decades to globalize the game for expanding the reach of their brand overseas.
Goodell recognizes how important it is to take care of the domestic fan base, but the Los Angeles has had some major challenges of its own when it comes to acquiring a new team and building a stadium. First, there needs to be an adequate venue (the L.A. Coliseum won’t cut it anymore), and funding and logistics have all been a dogfight. Next, a team has to move there since Goodell previously indicated the league would not use expansion as an option.
It all means that the sad, ridiculous notion that fans in Europe will be able to watch NFL football live on a regular basis before fans in L.A. can is close to becoming reality. If it happens, expect a harsh backlash from the American football-watching public. What about all of those jobs for red-blooded, hard-working Americans?
No one wants this to happen…wait, yes we do:
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