London a step closer to getting NFL team as Osborne meets owners

Fri Oct 2, 2015 7:01pm EDT
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(Reuters) - London has moved a step closer to getting its own National Football League team, British finance minister George Osborne said on Friday, after meeting with NFL team owners, executives and players ahead of this year's first game at Wembley Stadium.

Osborne met Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and NFL executive vice president Mark Waller at Downing Street to discuss what it would take to encourage an NFL team to base itself in London.

The idea has been in the works since last year, and Osborne and London mayor Boris Johnson have backed the plan for what would be a lucrative addition to the city's sporting calendar.

"I want London to be the global sporting capital," Osborne said.

"That's why I am supporting the NFL to bring one of their 32 teams to London permanently.

"This would be a huge boost to our capital city. I'm doing everything I can to make it happen so that London scores a touchdown."

The NFL is one of the UK's fastest growing sports and the three league games currently played in the capital as part of the London series have been a rousing success since they began in 2007.

The games at Wembley last season drew sellout crowds of more than 80,000 fans, for a reported total of more than $32 million (21.12 million pounds) in ticket revenue.

That figure could increase to a $155 million if a London-hosted franchise plays eight regular games a season in the capital, according to a study by Deloitte last year.   Continued...

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne speaks during the seventh UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue "Roundtable on Public-Private Partnerships" at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing September 21, 2015. REUTERS/Andy Wong/Pool