American Football: London calling but Buccaneers reject transatlantic move

 

With speculation bubbling that the NFL are ready to seriously consider putting a franchise in London, the focus has fallen on the possibility of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers becoming the team to up such historic sticks.

But as they prepare to play at Wembley for the second time in three years, Tampa Bay's general manager emphatically ruled out such a possibility.

"This team is never going to relocate from Tampa and go to London," said Mark Dominik, during practice at a Surrey hotel for tomorrow night's showdown with the Chicago Bears. "I know there's been some rumblings saying we may relocate, but we're very happy to be the 'Tampa Bay' Buccaneers and we will be going forward."

Dominik, however, was rather more vague on the chances of the Bucs playing a game in north-west London every year if and when the NFL stages two Wembley games a season, perhaps even as soon as 2012. "At that point it will be 'a matter for discussion,'" he said, while noting last week's vote to keep playing at least one game a year in London for the next five years.

What may also be a matter for discussion is that for the first time since the NFL hosted a competitive game in England five years ago, this collision will not be a sell-out. Saying that, the close-season lock-out plainly did not help in that regard.

"This year, with us not being able to confirm the game until [after the strike ended in] August and given that 85 per cent of our fans travel from outside London, we've not been able to give them as much notice to plan their trips, so that wasn't easy," said Alistair Kirkwood, the NFL UK managing director.

Kirkwood added: "Five weeks into the season, we've seen our TV ratings up more than 20 per cent year-on-year. To get an attendance up in the mid-70,000s is up there with any other major sporting taking place in this country... and the fact I'm having to justify it shows how far we have come."

It is how far they are prepared to go that will be the most pertinent point and today at a London hotel, Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, will be hosting a Q&A with fans where he is sure to be quizzed about the hottest topic in British gridiron. The optimism will only be stoked by a talent camp being held in the Soccerdome in Greenwich this morning which will see some of the most talented players in Britain aged 16-19 completing physical and football tests observed by a group of NFL scouts.

The game itself should only pronounce the positive vibe. The weather forecast is kind, which is good news for the diehards in London. For the first time, they will get to watch two teams presently sporting 500 records or better. Furthermore none of the other four match-ups at Wembley pitted off teams who had both won the previous week.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrator

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Infrastructure / Development Support

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunity to join a...

Recruitment Genius: Partnership Relationship Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partnership Relationship Mana...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore