Goodell dangles expansion carrot to London

Fri Feb 5, 2016 6:04pm EST
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By Steve Keating

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The NFL continued to build its global brand on Friday when commissioner Roger Goodell announced Mexico will host a game next season and dangled a carrot to British fans saying a team in London was a realistic possibility.

The National Football League will play three regular season games in London next season and Goodell said he expects that number to rise in the future as the league continues to build a solid British fan base.

The NFL played only one game in Wembley Stadium for six seasons before raising it to two games in 2013 and then to three in 2014 and 2015.

NFL owners had voted last October to extend the league's commitment to play international regular-season games through 2025, including the option to play outside the United Kingdom beginning with the 2016 season.

"Every time we give our UK fans, and I think this is true on a global basis, an opportunity to engage in football they want more," said Goodell. "Every year I go back to London and I see the fans are more sophisticated, they understand the game more, they are following it more.

"We expect a big audience in the UK watching the Super Bowl on Sunday. That's exciting for us.

"I believe in the future we will see more games in the UK. As for a franchise, let's continue to grow, lets continue to see that excitement, enthusiasm, passion and support continue to develop.

"If it does I think it is a realistic possibility."   Continued...

Feb 5, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a press conference at Moscone Center in advance of Super Bowl 50 between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports