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July 27, 2021. Toronto should be ahead of London for NFL franchise.

The NFL has broached the idea of creating a franchise in London due to the overwhelming success of the International Series at Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The series began in 2007 and has been played in London for every season other than the 2020 campaign since its inception.

 

Almost every team out of the 32 outfits has made the journey across the Atlantic, with the exception of the Green Bay Packers who have not participated in the International Series. The Packers have been reluctant to give up a home game at Lambeau Field given their dominance at their own stadium.

The Packers currently stand at 28/1 odds to be the next Super Bowl winners. However, part of their reluctance to play abroad is down to their fear that doing so may affect their future hopes of winning, even if they are always perennial contenders to triumph in NFL odds on bet365. Despite the Packers' lack of participation so far, the International Series has gone from strength to strength. The Packers may have resisted international play so far, but they will likely be forced to leave their home stadium for an international bout sooner than later, as a result of the new 17-game format that has been unrolled this season.

As a result of its popularity, the NFL has gradually increased the number of games being played in London. Four matches were played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Wembley Stadium in the 2019 campaign, edging the UK closer to the eight-game mark that would represent an entire slot of home games for an NFL franchise. There have even been murmurings about using Wembley Stadium as a venue for the Super Bowl. It would be a strange sight to see two teams competing overseas in the USA’s signature sporting event. Even more so to see a team moved permanently outside of the States.

If the NFL are looking to move a team outside of the country, why have they not considered Canada as a viable option? All of the other major sporting leagues in the US have teams based over the border. For example, the NHL has seven franchises, while the MLB and NBA both have teams based in Toronto. The Buffalo Bills played six games at the Rogers Center between the 2008 and 2013 seasons. All six contests were well attended by fans from the region, albeit the Bills struggled, losing five of the games. Their only victory came in the 2011 campaign after shutting out the Washington Football Team.

The attendance at the Bills’ games proves that there is an appetite for the NFL even with CFL action ongoing in their season. The NFL needs only to look at the example of the Blue Jays and the Raptors to see that a franchise would not only entertain the fans but also work in luring sufficient talent to win championships.

 

NFL players have raised issues in the past about the prospect of playing in London. Not only would they be leaving the States to live in the UK, uprooting their families in the process, but they would also have to travel back on a consistent basis to play road games. All that cross- Atlantic travel would certainly have an effect on their performances on the field. Toronto on the other hand is a mere 100 miles away from Buffalo. If the leading players in the NFL will play for the Bills, they would surely have no objection to plying their trade in Toronto.

It should be an area that the NFL explore in the future, especially at first with the Bills. With a franchise quarterback in place in Josh Allen, they are a prime project to test out the market once again. If it proves to be successful, then Toronto should certainly be ahead of London in the bid for an NFL franchise.  







 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

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