Why We’re Superbowl-ed Over By The NFL
Ask any American, and they’ll likely tell you the NFL is the greatest sport in the world. But it’s not only the US that are football-crazy, and increasingly the UK is beginning to have strong feelings for American Football, too. With the viewing figures over here on the rise each year, the question isn’t will you, but where will you be watching the greatest show on Earth come the 5th February?
Since the first UK fixture was hosted at Wembley in 2007, when the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins, the UK has fallen for the NFL’s charm with sell-out crowds at all the games played in the UK ever since.
Fast forward ten years and there are now four games being played a year, with the UK now even having an adopted home team in the form of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have committed to playing at least one home game a season until 2020 in the UK.
Although there is the same amount of players on the pitch as English football (or soccer) teams at any one time, the American version is much more of a showpiece, with games on average lasting over three hours long, including half time shows from celebrity performers (this year, we’re due to be going Lady Gaga crazy) plus cheerleaders shaking their pom poms every single time the ball is in, and out, of play.
Essentially, the stadiums are bigger, the teams are bigger, the average crowds at games are bigger – everything about the NFL is bigger than our football match days. The average attendance to an NFL game is 68,400 compared to 34,700 for Premier League games, and lower-league football over here is completely dwarfed in comparison to US college football matches. It’s more of an experience going to see an American football game, let alone noting that no-one leaves earlier to try and miss the traffic rush.
With the popularity of American football still on an increase in the UK, (approximately an 80% TV ratings increase), this surely means it’s more of a when will there be a permanent London-based team than a will there be one?