Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - In response to growing fan support in the
United Kingdom, the NFL will play three regular-season games in the UK in
2014, commissioner Roger Goodell announced at the league's fall meeting.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders will all host a
home game in London next season at Wembley Stadium. The opponents and dates of
the games will be announced later this season.
"Our fans in the UK have continued to demonstrate that they love football and
want more," said Goodell. "Both of this year's games in London sold out
quickly. The fan enthusiasm for our sport continues to grow."
Earlier this season, the Minnesota Vikings clipped the Pittsburgh Steelers,
34-27, in front of 83,518 fans at Wembley. The Jaguars, who will play host to
the San Francisco 49ers in London on Sunday, Oct. 27, have committed to
playing one home game a year at Wembley through 2016.
"The experience the Jaguars have had already in London has been every bit what
we anticipated and more," said Jags owner Shad Khan. "We made the right
decision to commit to playing a home game in London each season through 2016.
The Jaguars have a broader worldwide fan base today and the anticipation for
our London game later this month is shared by our loyal fans in Jacksonville,
so it's a perfect scenario for everyone."
The Falcons and Raiders are set to host their first game away from the United
States. Oakland will return to London for the first time since 1990, when they
met the Saints for a preseason tilt at Wembley. Atlanta has never played
beyond the borders of the U.S.
"Playing in London will provide tremendous exposure to our team, as well as
provide the opportunity to showcase the great international city of Atlanta,"
said Falcons owner Arthur Blank.
Football has grown steadily in the UK since 2007, when the NFL played its
first regular season game at Wembley between the New York Giants and Miami
Dolphins. Participation in amateur football has grown by approximately 15
percent every year since 2007.
The Sports Network