NFL Overseas Makes All The Cents In The World

Money-hungry NFL owners won't be denied when it comes to full-time football in London, and it'll be a European vacation compared to the first foray 22 years ago

By
Andrew Brandt
· More from Andrew·
The NFL is doubling down on regular-season games in London, with the Vikings and Steelers first on the docket in Week 4. (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)
The NFL is doubling down on regular-season games in London, with the Vikings and Steelers first on the docket in Week 4. (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

Sunday marks the first of two games of the 2013 NFL International Series as the Minnesota Vikings “host” the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley Stadium in London (the Jacksonville Jaguars meet the San Francisco 49ers next month).  With this year’s doubling of NFL inventory previously available to the English market, one can surmise that two games eventually will become three, three will become four, four will become six … until we have an NFL team stationed in London.

Although many dismiss the notion of an overseas NFL franchise, I certainly do not. Commissioner Roger Goodell is intent on growing the game beyond our domestic borders, starting in London.  More importantly, NFL owners—in case you haven’t been paying attention—care deeply about creating and capitalizing upon every possible revenue stream. Playing a game or two abroad is not maximization of that income.  Owners start to see dollar signs from entry into the European market and beyond.

Yes, there will be logistical, operational and competitive challenges with a London team, but we are talking about a league approaching $10 billion in gross revenue.  Simply, these issues can be worked out.  My perspective is one of experience: I served as the first general manager of the Barcelona Dragons in the NFL-backed World League. In my opinion, solving the logistics of a potential NFL team in London would be a cakewalk compared to the NFL’s maiden voyage in Europe more than 20 years ago.

‘Do you speak Barcelonan?’

In 1991, I was a few years into a career as an agent when I was presented an interesting opportunity.  I was negotiating a contract for client Chris Doleman with Vikings general manager/part-owner, Mike Lynn.

When we finished negotiating Doleman’s contract, Lynn lit up a cigarette (one of a dozen he smoked in our two-hour meeting), eyed me closely and asked: “Do you speak Barcelonan?” 

I thought this was an interesting question. “Does that mean Spanish?”

“Yeah, Spanish.”  (It turned out he was wrong; Catalan is spoken in Barcelona.)

“Yes, I speak Spanish.”  I took it in high school; I could fake my way through.

Five thoughts on football

1. I think Von Miller’s six-game suspension—a curious time frame under the Substance Abuse Policy – makes more sense now.  The six-game penalty was negotiated by lawyers for Miller and the NFL over a reported conspiracy between Miller and an acquiescing specimen collector to beat the system.  This episode strikes at the heart of the integrity of the game, and the harsh punishment reflects that.


2. I think it is interesting that, while Miller’s now-reported transgression had some traction with fans and media, it pales in comparison to the outrage about Major League Baseball players testing positive for PEDs.  An argument could be made that Miller’s actions were more serious than those of many of the baseball players’, yet the indignation from the public is comparatively muted.  I wonder if that would be different if the Denver Broncos were losing.


3. I think Jed York and the 49ers were stuck in no man’s land on disciplining Aldon Smith and should have erred on the side of prudence by sitting Smith on Sunday, even if still allowed on the sidelines.  As with the Miller situation above, there was integrity at stake, here involving the public perception of the franchise.  Whether right or wrong, the 49ers allowing Smith to play created the perception that talent trumps principles of morality and personal conduct. 


4. I think the Smith case is another illustration of the reality of sports: not all players are created equal.  If a bottom-of-the roster 49er did what Aldon Smith did, he would likely now be a former 49er.  Talent changes the equation, and the 49ers are certainly not alone here.


5. I think some of the teams with losing records after Week 3 will be fine.  The Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons were playoff teams last year and—despite current 1-2 records—will be playoff teams again.  Order will be restored in time.

“How would you like to be the general manager of the Barcelona Dragons?”

“The what?”

“We’re starting a league overseas. We’re going to spread football around the globe. It’s going be bigger than the NFL!”

I enjoyed the agent business (I would later return to it) but could not pass up the opportunity at a very young age to run a professional football team, albeit one in a minor league in another country.  Three months before opening day on ABC television and with no coaches or players, I became general manager of the Barcelona Dragons. 

Goalposts in the corners

After being turned down by some top NFL assistant coaches, such as Tony Dungy, who was intrigued but not by moving to Spain, I hired former Boston College coach Jack Bicknell. Within a week, we drafted 80 players, had training camp in Florida, cut 40 players (some with Spanish heritage) and boarded a plane to Spain.  Instant football team!

When we arrived in Spain, our marketing director proudly announced: “Andrew, for our opening game we have sold 173 tickets!”

“How many does the stadium hold?”

“40,000.”

“That’s not good.”

“Don’t worry. In Spain, everyone walks up.”

Thankfully, the night before our game, we were allowed to have the team run around at halftime of an FC Barcelona game with the public address announcer promoting our game the next night (or at least I think that’s what he said).  Those five minutes in front of 100,000 people, combined with our handing out tickets to whomever we met, resulted in 18,000 fans for our opening game, clearing the 15,000 number we had targeted.  On to the game.

Our first touchdown was a seam pattern to the tight end, who broke three tackles en route to an exciting 70-yard touchdown.  I jumped for joy, but the stadium only had a murmur of muted golf applause.  Hmmm.  Then our kicker came on and kicked the extra point and … the crowd went nuts!  

American football, for the fans that came, was a diversion, a curiosity far different than their passion for soccer. They cheered at all the wrong times, did “the wave” and sang “Ole” throughout the game.  They just wanted to have some fun.  So we made it a party.

We changed our entire marketing approach from selling American football to selling an American event.  We sold hot dogs and hamburgers; we brought over marching bands and Frisbee dogs; we blasted American rap music at every stoppage of play.  I hired two NFL cheerleaders to teach the women of Barcelona to dance as they did, creating “Las Chicas Del Dragons.” They became more popular than the team and were booked throughout Spain.

Logistically, there were some obstacles. When the goalposts were first installed at the stadium, they were mounted in the corners of the end zones. The laundry service ruined our uniforms countless times.  Getting equipment out of customs always required some negotiating and a greased palm or two.

Perhaps the biggest obstacles were food and lodging.  We could never get enough food. The hotel staff constantly complained, They eat so much; they are too big!  We put night tables with a pillow on top at the end of each bed so players’ legs wouldn’t flop over. And dealing with the wives and girlfriends visiting players while navigating the new Spanish girlfriends (and one wife) was a full-time job in itself.

To borrow a U.S. Navy tagline, the Barcelona Dragons experience was not just a job, it was an adventure.  However, Barcelona was then and London is now.

London and the logistics

Even back in the World League 22 years ago, the sophistication of American football fans at Wembley Stadium was vastly greater than what we experienced in Barcelona.  When we played in the inaugural World Bowl in London (against the London Monarchs), it was very similar to playing in front of an American audience, just with some English flair.

Yes, soccer will always be the bellwether sport for London and all of Europe, but there is a recognized market for American football. The NFL is increasing its output there to set a floor for further offerings in the future.

On the team level, when the St. Louis Rams had to back out of previously scheduled London games due to their own stadium issues, Jaguars owner Shahid Kahn pounced, strategically positioning his franchise as the closest thing there is to a “home team” in London. Khan, also the new owner of English Premier League team Fulham, represents an aggressive player for international opportunities in the NFL ownership circle.

I understand and hear anxieties about travel, pay, competitive balance, etc. Change is scary and logistical concerns are real. However, we are far removed from our days in the World League, where our road trips would take two days.

Let's Leave London Alone

Branching out in London long-term? Before the NFL gets ahead of itself, Don Banks thinks the league should seriously reconsider the reasoning, benefits and risks of planting a franchise across the Atlantic. FULL STORY

Flights to London from the East Coast take similar (or less) time as cross-country flights, and all team travel is done on private charters. Bye weeks for teams playing in London can be scheduled for the following week, as they are now.  And the London team would likely have two or three-week road trips in the United States, something that happens in the NFL with teams playing consecutive West (or East) Coast games. For instance, the Arizona Cardinals are staying in Florida this week after a Week 3 game in New Orleans and a Week 4 game at Tampa Bay.

As to issues with player compensation and increased costs for housing, travel, etc., this will be part of the collective bargaining process with the NFLPA.  Everything is negotiable.  Perhaps players will not be required to stay in London beyond the season, with potential for training camp and offseason workouts at a designated facility in the United States.  As to equalizing tax and contractual imbalances, that too can be handled in discussions with the union.

To dismiss the idea of an NFL team in London is folly.  With NFL owners looking to unlock every untapped income source, an opening into the European market makes obvious sense. The internationalization of the NFL is not going to remain fixed at a couple games per year.  It will not happen soon, perhaps not even during the present CBA that runs through 2020, but it will happen eventually.  NFL international expansion is not a matter of if, but when.

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84 comments
gary41
gary41

Aside from quality, which is becoming a major issue, the WLAF failed because people over there felt no affinity for the teams.  Here, the overall quality of 32 teams at the beginning of each season is 100%, at best, but quickly decline over 4 preseason & 16 seasonal games to something much less worthwhile, assuming fans understand the nuances of the game.  Also, in England fans are used to continuous play, uninterrupted for space given to commercials demanded by networks.  Assuming interest, there are major economic problems, so major issues and thus major risk factors are impediments.  In this country, fans do not even want a team in England.         

noly972
noly972

I was stationed in London the first year of the World League and attended all of the Monarch's home games. The fans were great and I remember the excitement whenever a kicker performed; it seemed like their interest level amped-up a notch. While the quality of play wasn't the best, there were flashes of talent. Remember, many of the players were good enough to try out for NFL teams as free agents and every year a few diamonds in the rough are discovered. All in all, it was great fun and better than no football, at all.

ChronicColtsSyndrome
ChronicColtsSyndrome

Lame street. I live in a county where taxes are collected to help pay for a stadium in our city. We reluctantly do this because a majority here think that there is a good return for this "investment". Let me see some "kick back" into NFL city coffer's before we start shipping the reason for our "investment" overseas only to be seen on TV. 

I imagine it could possibly be good for Indy in some abstract way through the NFL, it just seems that the city could end up getting screwed-over. If the UK had team/s with a full schedule, then they would certainly have to add games to the regular season in order to avoid taking literal home games away from cities. If they did that it would be like telling the city that you only get what you originally bargained for, 8 games. The Packer's are owned by the people, what if the NFL added a game in the UK for the Packer's and not a ninth home game for them in Green Bay, how would the fans feel about their purchase?

Someone mentioned the grass roots solution, this is the only way it would ever work. More UK fans would show up to see UK players and the only way to do that is to invest more in the youth sports and grow interest with a lot more local players. Then ultimately a UK National League and eventually a real 1' ball World Championship.

RetroDan16
RetroDan16

I'm English. I've been watching the NFL since 1986, so I feel qualified to say what I think here. I have two main issues. 1. I don't actually believe a team in England is a particularly good idea. Football has been shown here in one way or another since 1982, and yet we still have to have an annual show just to explain the rules and try to attract new viewers. If we can't get that right after 30 odd years, what are the chances of an NFL franchise succeeding, in all honesty? I propose the NFL supports our grassroots game more, getting kids involved on a larger scale and further upping the skill level of British players in our leagues.

2. I do however, resent the highly blinkered and stereotypical view of 'us Brits'. don't patronize us with suggesting we have the Pro Bowl. We don't watch it either. Let's not call a potential team the London Fog or London Tea Drinkers or whatever, because we also happen to live in the 21st Century. It's embarrassing to read these kind of ignorant comments. And as for 'how would we like it if our soccerball teams had to play a game abroad'...nobody cares. We're not quite so possessive about our sports; we share them with the world. If we are to be picky here, shall I dredge up the old question of why the Ravens are 'World Champions' in a 'National' league? 

Our knowledge of football is greater than we're given credit for; we sussed out that preseason games were pretty pointless after the first American Bowl. We get access to more games than half of the USA on any given Sunday. But we also know that a team based in this country would struggle for support because I know myself that I wouldn't change my team that I have followed for more than half my life. So look at alternatives, make the game grow overseas by all means, but do this by getting more people actually playing the game. And please, don't assume we all speak cockernee and live in castles. Enjoy your NFL, but don't resent us fans for what the NFL itself aspires to in the future.  

engspot
engspot

I won't watch it.  Those ungrateful Brits boo'd our national anthem and they don't understand the game or cheer for the teams.  What a waste.

I'm pretty sure many players would retire rather than live in England if they got drafted there.  This whole concept is a greedy farce.

skanee00
skanee00

So if my beloved Packers ever played the London Blitzers over there, would I be allowed to wear my cheesehead?  Would I have to put a French flag decal on my cheesehead?  Just wondering because all real cheese is made in France not Wisconsin, I guess.  The French are insanely sensitive about such things.

England is not a part of the USA.  No such thing as freedom of speech over there.  Just so you know.

stantonwaro
stantonwaro

I'm an English fan living in London who happens to support the Vikings, will be going to the game tomorrow with one of my best friends who supports the Steelers. I'm very excited to see a team I've supported for 20 years for the second time (first time 1998 in Minneapolis, Randy Moss was brilliant that game, I tried to get a John Randle jersey but couldn't find one to buy so had to settle on Robert Smith).

I've been every year since they started bringing NFL games to London. The Monarchs failed because the quality was poor and they didn't seem to matter to anyone. If the game is top level and the players are putting everything on the line, people don't need razzmatazz at all. There's a real fanbase here who totally understand the game. Just because some of the games are on Sky - so are nearly all the premier league games, and that hasn't stopped our football league growing ever bigger. And actually over here we have Gameplan which shows all the games live on your computer, so often I can see more of the NFL than fans in the US. 

If we had a team I'd be a loyal supporter, and I know of many people who would be likewise. Yes, there's definitely a ton of logistical issues to be worked out and a European division would probably help, but please everyone, don't dismiss London fans or their knowledge. We're passionate and would love to have our own team. But you can keep the Jags. They suck.

jj55
jj55

Second most idiotic sentence in the article:

"Do you speak Barcelonan?"

Most idiotic sentence in the article:

"Flights to London from the East Coast take similar (or less) time as cross-country flights." 


riddler79
riddler79

why is LA always touted for a team when they've consistently failed to support one in the past? everyone in the US seems to want to plant a team in LA...except folk in LA itself. why?

skanee00
skanee00

Would the European Union get mad if Packer fans wore their cheeseheads over there?

RickyLynde
RickyLynde

Have a team in Canada, not London. Goodell is an idiot. There will never be a team in London despite how many ridiculous articles SI.com writes in favor of this absurdity!

tymmac007
tymmac007

I dont want this to happen. Let them have their soccer.

pk_sea
pk_sea

The biggest issue is the time difference. Are we going to get tape delayed games on the west coast?  A 1pm game in London is 5am on the west coast.  

mbradleyc
mbradleyc

I can't take this seriously.  This is one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard.  It will never work.

Siegie7
Siegie7

I agree with whomever said it would work better with a European division, so all away games aren't so far from home.  Also, a lot of players may not be into it, but it's such a great untapped market.  If they could build a following, the opportunities for players could be amazing.  I would go to London in a heartbeat, if I had the opportunity to live and/or play there.

NorthernGuy
NorthernGuy

A game or two does well in London, partly because it's an event, a curiosity. There used to be a weekly TV program in London about the NFL, and it mainly featured cheerleaders and taking an offensive lineman out to dinner to see how many groceries he could pack away. I'm not sure basing a team there would find the same level of support. 

NickAntinarella
NickAntinarella

Sure it makes "perfect sense". The European Football league did wonderful! I can't believe the NFL wants to put a team in London when so many locations here are failing and other cities want a team. Why? Just to Globalize? You want to place a team in another country where their road games will consist of flights across the Atlantic and, in some cases, across the Atlantic and the United States (if it's a West Coast game). Oh, not that anybody cares but what about the players? They'd have to relocate their entire family to England or leave their families from July - January, with periodic visits home. Jacksonville and St. Louis can hardly hold their franchise down. LA is dying for a team and there are other locations in the US that would LOVE a team. The only reason to Globalize is greed. Keep the game where it belongs, in the States.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

Andrew I can't believe you wrote all of this and failed to address the most important aspect of whether a team would be successful in London or not.  WINNING.  Sure it would start out as a success because it would be a novelty.  Years of the team sucking would change that.  The English people would not continue to show up to watch a team that sucks.  OH and they would suck.  Why?  Top free agents given the choice to sign with a USA team over the London team would lean USA every time.  The top free agents of the London team would bolt for the teams in the USA.  Not only for the logistics of their family and not having to deal with the brutal travel, but the huge tax burden they would face playing in London.  So considering the team's disadvantage with garnering good players, how in the world could they possibly be a winning team?  

Also it was pretty dumb to compare flights from the northeast to London to the cross country flights of the USA.  Why?  Because that suggests the only teams flying to London would be northeast teams.  That would not be the case.  What about when Seattle has to go to London?  Or London has to go to Seattle?  You know every team plays every team in the rotation right?  Yeah, those road trips would be ridiculously stupid and the players would hate it with a white hot passion of hate.  

The owners can be as determined as they want, that is irrelevant to the viability of it.  See the world league folding for evidence of that.

IM1RU12
IM1RU12

Isn't it all about NFL greed?

marick
marick

Given the time difference, a London team would likely be excluded from Thu/Sun/Mon night home games and it seems unfair to have a London team play night away games and expect fans to watch them live on TV in the UK.  Home games would start at either 6:05 pm or 9:15 pm on Sunday nights, not ideal.  London would be a tenant at Wembley, which is owned by England's soccer federation (FA) and would have to share concessions and attendance revenue.  Pre-season practice facility and games?  More logistics headaches.  In all, it doesn't sound like a great business plan for any new ownership of a London franchise.

Gah2005
Gah2005

One team would be too much travel, now a European Division of 4 to 5 teams would work better.  This would create local rivalries and new interest.

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

So not a fan of this.  I don't think 8 games in London is sustainable.

skanee00
skanee00

NRL and Super Rugby matches in NFL stadiums would make perfect cents too.

Charlie P
Charlie P

NFL doesn't even yet have a franchise in Canada, where they actually play and understand this brand of football.  Pushing for a team in a city crazed for soccer, F1, cricket and rugby and who know whatever else above American football seems just silly.

Shane H
Shane H

I will never understand why they see this as a viable option. Remember NFL Europe? Only teams that had any remote success was the teams in Amsterdam and Berlin. 


My point is the reason it sells so well in London is because it is a one time event. Same with the hockey game that was played in London. People came and it sold out, but it doesn't mean that the NHL would survive with a team there either. Fun to entertain the idea, but it ultimately wouldn't work. 


Keep the one or two games a year over there going, but that's all that should be done in my book. Better off to move a team to Canada if anything lol

ozsportsdude
ozsportsdude

The NFL's European obsession continues to blind them to the easiest overseas money making opportunity.Instead of looking to old decaying Europe, a continent that already has a traditional football code that it is passionate about, they should instead loon to the growing markets in the Asia/Pacific.Here there is no century old traditional sport and the beauty is it would not require relocation, travel or expansion. All it requires is a timeslot change.

In Australia we are 15 hours ahead of u meaning Sundays schedule runs from 3am - 12:30pm (5-2:30 daylight saving time on a Monday.

Ideally youd change to Saturdau so ppl across Asia could wake up to games on Sunday. But as that wont happen justt these 2 changes

Move SB to Saturday night so ppl all across the fastest growing region in the world can stumble across that unique spectacle on Sunday lunchtime, then move Thursday games to Friday so when the SB hooks them they can get a steady diet of Saturday arvo games.

The Premier League make more $ from US/Asian TV than domestic TV. IF NFL works hard & makes these changes there are billions waiting in Asia for them

marick
marick

While negotiations with NFLPA may help with some compensations issues, tax policies of the British govt may be a bit more difficult.  Salaries of a vast majority of NFL players, coaches, front office, etc. would be taxed at 50% as would all other income such as player endorsements.  Speaking of endorsements, would London players earn as much as stateside stars?  Wembley's booking schedule would have room for 8 games, although the turf would have to be changed for NFL games vice soccer matches.  Currently, NFL games appear on SKY satellite channels, not mainstream British TV -- as Rupert Murdoch owns Sky as he does Fox, don't see a change there.  Are British advertisers going to pay going NFL rates?  And as Jacksonville currently seems the targeted NFL team for a London move -- has NFL really lost its lust for Los Angeles -- and given the choice, wouldn't the owners prefer a team in LA?

JoeGordon
JoeGordon

The fact that the London team in the WLAF/NFL Europe folded does not bold well for an NFL franchise surviving in London. Bill Barnwell at Grantland wrote an interesting piece about this issue and his main argument against it was that most of the people who come to the games in London aren't British, they are Germans/Dutch/French who save up and see it as a vacation of sorts. And while they might not have a problem seeing one or two games in that way, no way they are going to shell out the money for eight games.

No, this is FAIL all around.

Plainview
Plainview

if they worked the schedule right, it would be doable.  I just walked through a scenario with the Oakland Raiders, a team about as far from London as possible.


Week 3: Oakland Raiders play at home
Week 4: Raiders play at Baltimore Ravens.  Flight time to BWI airport: 7 hours, 8 minutes.  Leave at 6am, arrive at 4:13pm
Week 5: Raiders play at London Fog.  Flight time to London FROM Baltimore: 9 hours, 50 minutes.  Leave at 6am, arrive at 9pm.
Week 6: Bye Week.

Would it be tough?  Yes.  But the tough part would be on the team from London, not anyone else.  Even teams in the division would only have to play in London once.  But the London Fog would need a few weeks of home, a few weeks of away.  Maybe 4 weeks stateside, 4 weeks at home, etc.

But the money is there.  I expect to see a team in London in 10 years, and I would not be surprised if we saw one there in 5-7 years. 

coolgato13
coolgato13

Why London ?  Why not Mexico City?   If this is Hispanic heritage month, let the NFL put its money where its mouth is. No serious  time zone problem. Did the NFL not get over 100,000 people for an exhibition game at Azteca Stadium not that long ago?

Kalzy
Kalzy

Vikes will lose this game and still make the playoffs

yadda71
yadda71

Whatever team in this game that loses and drops to 0-4 might as well stay there.


waynekoppa
waynekoppa

@RetroDan16 Don't worry the rules are so complicated, Americans and even the referees don't understand the rules fully either.

CMFJ
CMFJ

@engspot 

LOL.  A guy will give up a lifelong dream to play in the NFL and forgo possible fame and fortune because...because why?!?   

el-cid
el-cid

@jj55 I wouldn't say the second sentence is idiotic.  Depends on the flight.  7:20 JFK to London vs. 5:30 JFK to San Diego (7:25 - 8:25) with a connection.  A couple of hours one way or another isn't likely a deal breaker.

vanonymous
vanonymous

@jj55 From JFK, flights to Heathrow run roughly 7 hours.  Non-stop to San Francisco is roughly 6 hours.


No, not less.  But hardly qualifies as "idiotic".

CMFJ
CMFJ

@RickyLynde 

If you think Goodell is solely driving this, you are not really thinking.  Talk about a London Franchise has been going on since before Goodell was commissioner.  That talk is driven by owners, who see that expanding into Europe will at some point mean extra billions in TV revenue.  Canada would still be international expansion, but their population is half that of the UK and less than that in California.  Unlike you, the owners are thinking long term.  A London NFL team would drive popularity of American football in Europe as a whole (700 + million people), which means more merchandise sold.  

el-cid
el-cid

@pk_sea Evening games in London would work. 7PM London - 11AM West Coast, 2PM East Coast.

el-cid
el-cid

@randomdeletion Good points though I'm not as sure about the time difference issue.  It's not insurmountable.  We're in the middle of watching test matches for the rugby championship (SANZAR).  A 3PM match for the Pumas is 4AM in Australia and 8PM in South Africa.  Yes, it's not football but it's three months long and a lot of travel and they make it work.  If the money is there, they'll try.

Gah2005
Gah2005

But cities like Los Angeles & Toronto is a better candidate currently.

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

@Shane H They shouldn't even have the two games there in my opinion.  If they are going to do neutral site games, they should be played in Los Angeles or another american city capable of properly hosting the games. Keep those jobs and revenue streams here in the U.S., not overseas.

pk_sea
pk_sea

@marick Maybe the London teams could wear ads on their jerseys like the soccer teams.  Nike would love that. :-)

thejamesdixon
thejamesdixon

@JoeGordon "most of the people who come to the games in London aren't British, they are Germans/Dutch/French" <-- this is just patently untrue. There's maybe a few thousand continental Europeans at an absolute maximum, though very welcome they are to

henblue
henblue

@Plainview your math is off on flight times, but still supports your argument.  Flights from Oakland to Baltimore encounter a 3 hr loss from the time zone change, so in actuality the flight is around 4+ hrs.  Same goes for the flights from east coast to London.  There's always jetlag to deal with, but today's pampered athlete with private jets, nutritionists, etc. can combat whatever "toll" the travel takes on their minds and bodies.

coolgato13
coolgato13

In addition a team in Mexico City would have natural rivalries with teams in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California.


BabylonDon
BabylonDon

@coolgato13 And Toronto as well. The 'experiment with the Bills isn't working there, because the Bills are weak, and only play there once a year. Judging by the popularity of the NBA's Raptors (I see their merch all over Canada) they'd definitely have a good chance of sticking. Canadians are total homers, they back their teams.

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