The NFL announced on Tuesday that it has extended its commitment to playing regular season games in the United Kingdom through the 2016 season. The league's teams voted on the matter at the fall business meetings held in Houston. The vote allows the league to schedule regular season games in the 2012-2016 seasons, which is no huge surprise, but the league can also determine how many games are played each year, the teams involved and the venue. The resolution also stipulates that:â†µ
- Teams may volunteer to play at least one regular-season game per year as a home team in the U.K. for up to five years.
- The league can determine the appropriate number of U.K. games per season, based on the popularity of the sport in the market and the number of teams that volunteer to play as a home team. â†µ
Interesting stuff. So not only are there going to continue being games each year, there might be multiple games. Roger Goodell explained the reasoning in a press release.â†µ
"The response to NFL games being played in the U.K. continues to be exceptional," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . "Because of the outstanding support of our British fans, we are confident that hosting additional games in the U.K. will be well received and support our goal of bringing football to more fans in the U.K. and beyond."
"When the initial resolution was approved in 2006, the thinking at the time was that we would have two new teams every year," said NFL Vice President of International Chris Parsons . "As the series evolved, we felt as though having a team return to the U.K. on a regular basis would certainly increase the fan base for that particular team, which in turn would drive fan growth for the entire league. We think there is a tremendous benefit for a team to return to the U.K. on an annual basis."â†µ
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are scheduled to play in England against the Chicago Bears on October 29th, which is Week 7 of this season. We'll see what the response is like and if the league determines that the Buccaneers are one of the teams that might make sense to have play abroad regularly in future years.â†µ