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London NFL team 'a decade away'

New England players celebrate
New England will take part in the NFL's third Wembley game in October

London is expected to have its own NFL team within the next 10 to 12 years, according to a senior league official.

NFL boss Roger Goodell suggested the possibility of a team during the annual game at Wembley last October.

And Mark Waller, NFL head of sales and marketing, said: "The commissioner and I have talked about 10 years so that's mentally how we're framing it.

"Would we be hugely disappointed if it's not 10 and it's 12? No, but that's the goal," he told BBC 5 Live.

Waller was speaking in Tampa Bay, where Pittsburgh and Arizona are preparing to do battle in Super Bowl XLIII this Sunday.


This week, tickets for the NFL's third competitive game at Wembley have sold more quickly than the previous two, with 20,000 snapped up in the first seven minutes.

"It is proof of a growing audience for the sport," said NFL UK managing director Alistair Kirkwood.

"We have been delighted with the way fans have got behind the game, especially considering the challenging economic climate."

The initial 70,000 allocation for the 25 October clash between New England and Tampa Bay has gone and another batch is only available until after Sunday's Super Bowl XLIII.

UK gridiron chief happy with progress

In October 2007, the NFL staged its first regular-season game outside the Americas, with 81,176 fans at Wembley watching the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins 13-10 before going on to win Super Bowl XLI.

Last year, the New Orleans Saints were 37-32 winners in a thrilling meeting in London with the San Diego Chargers, watched by 83,226.

The NFL has also staged games in Mexico City and Toronto over the last few years and said it is all part of a bigger plan to ensure planning is correct and that fans respond positively.

"We plan rigorously. There is a view for the future. We've taken a west coast team [to London] this year in San Diego and we've proved the logistics of that work," he explained.

"This year we're going to have games going on in London and Toronto at the same time so we definitely have a way forward."

Guide to the basics of American football

see also
Cardinals & Steelers seal titles
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NFL great tips Arizona for upset
29 Jan 09 |  American Football
Patriots set for Wembley fixture
01 Dec 08 |  American Football
London 'could have own NFL team'
27 Oct 08 |  American Football
Saints pip San Diego at Wembley
26 Oct 08 |  American Football
NFL considers Murrayfield fixture
26 Oct 08 |  American Football
Giants beat Miami at wet Wembley
28 Oct 07 |  American Football
UK mission for NFL
29 Oct 07 |  American Football
NFL fixtures
05 Jan 08 |  American Football
NFL results
26 Oct 07 |  American Football
NFL standings
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NFL in a nutshell
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American Football on the BBC
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