Goodell praises London 'passion' but no word on a franchise

Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:33pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Simon Evans

PHOENIX (Reuters) - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on Friday the growth in popularity of American football in Britain was "better than we ever dreamed" but he gave no sign of a franchise going there.

Speaking in his annual pre-Super Bowl 'State of the League' address, Goodell twice evaded questions about the prospects for a team in London.

"London has done not only everything that we expected but more than we expected, they are responding to the game better than we ever dreamed with more enthusiasm, more passion," he said.

"You see it every year, the passion, the understanding of the game, every event that we have explodes with interest," said the National Football League chief.

The league now has three regular-season games at Wembley Stadium and has been building political connections, with mayor Boris Johnson and Chancellor George Osborne enthusiastic in their support.

"We are continuing to advance our interests over there from the standpoint of playing more games." said Goodell.

"The passion is obvious, we want to continue to respond to that fan interest and if we do – - we don’t know where it will go but there is great potential in London for the NFL."

The league will switch to earlier kickoffs for all three of the London games next year, creating a new Sunday morning viewing slot on the U.S East Coast.   Continued...

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell listens to a question during a news conference ahead of Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix, Arizona January 30, 2015.     REUTERS/Brian Snyder