American football back in London with extra game

Wed Sep 17, 2014 6:40am EDT
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By Keith Weir

LONDON (Reuters) - The NFL roadshow rolls into London again next week for the first of three games designed to build its international fan base and lay the foundations for a team in the British capital.

The Oakland Raiders face the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on Sept. 28 and the home of English soccer will stage a further two NFL clashes over the autumn.

The NFL has been playing regular season games in London since 2007 but the interest among European fans means that another fixture has been added this year.

"We're playing at Wembley with an 84,000 capacity. For three games, we're selling a quarter of a million tickets which is basically the sort of inventory most teams are selling for half a season," said Mark Waller, the NFL's executive vice-president, international.

That level of demand naturally prompts renewed speculation that London could become a permanent home to an NFL team.

Waller, a Briton in charge of overseeing the game's international growth, believes such a move would be positive but is careful not to set any target date for when it could happen.

"If I could be in London watching a hugely important game of a team that is based out of London competing in the National Football League, I think that is an exciting concept," he said in a telephone interview.