The NFL is already a multi-billion dollar industry, and its growth doesn’t figure to slow down any time soon. The next logical step in its progression figures to involve placing a franchise in a foreign city, such as London, or a major, currently NFL-free American metropolis like Los Angeles, which has been without an NFL team since the Raiders moved to Oakland in 1995.
One regular season game has been played each year in London since 2007, and Falcons owner Arthur Blank tells Peter King of TheMMQB.com that this could be a precursor to moving a team to Europe full-time:
“I think it will lead to [a team]. I think it will start with an increased number of games. That will be translated into a very successful series of games, and eventually, I think a franchise. And maybe more than one. London’s a big city … I think eventually having that many games says that we really are playing a season in London, so we probably ought to have a team here. I think it will be a natural progression to a team.”
Blank also told King that he believes there will be “one or more teams” in L.A. in the near future. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross agrees, telling the Wall Street Journal’s Kevin Clark last week that he sees a team in L.A. “within five years” (Twitter link).
Along the same lines, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk examined which teams could be moved to London or L.A., and listed the Bills (who cannot move until 2020), the Jaguars (who will play one game in London through 2016), and the Raiders, Rams, and Chargers, each of whom has been headquartered in L.A at one time.
I think that L.A. is the likelier destination for an NFL franchise. A London-based team would cause all sorts of logistical nightmares for teams, and it makes much more sense to place a team in the second-largest city in the United States. What do you think? Will L.A. or London get a franchise first?