It no longer appears to be a matter of if the NFL will place a team in London full time. The question is turning to when. The NFL recently held its sixth regular-season game at Wembley Stadium with over 80,000 fans in attendance.
Now reports from the AP says that London Mayor Boris Johnson believes the NFL could be the tenant of Olympic Stadium.
A statement from the Mayor’s office read:
‘‘Given the ever growing popularity of gridiron on this side of the Atlantic, the mayor and his team have held a number of meetings with senior executives in the last few days to explore further opportunities involving the NFL and London. The talks were exploratory. We are at an early stage, but the signs are encouraging.’’
All six NFL games in London so far have been at Wembley, including the New England Patriots’ 45-7 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. The NFL’s contract with Wembley runs until 2016. Two games will be played at the stadium next year.
Olympic Stadium, built for this year’s games, does not have a resident. Johnson is the chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation, which is responsible for deciding how the Olympic Stadium will be used in the future.
The NFL has been in talks with London officials for years about future expansion. The Jacksonville Jaguars will play a home game in London in each of the next four seasons.