Worried UK NFL Fans as Still No Deal To Broadcast Games
The NFL is more popular in the UK than it has ever been. Yet with the new season beginning on Wednesday September 5 there is yet to be a TV deal in place to broadcast the vast majority of the games in Britain.
Channel 4 have secured the rights to the late Sunday night games. The games that are broadcast in the U.S. by NBC under the Sunday Night Football brand.
But that’s only one game a week. The rest of the Sunday games do not yet have a UK home. Fans could be forgiven for starting to worry.
The Sunday afternoon and evening games have been broadcast in recent years by Sky. With Kevin Cadle hosting along with, up until last year at least, Nick Halling. Who has moved on to Sky’s boxing coverage.
The NFL under commissioner Roger Goodell are extremely keen to extend their reach in the UK. With many informed experts arguing there could be a London Franchise in the not too distant future.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are the current favourites to up sticks and move to the UK. They have agreed to play a regular season home game at London's Wembley Stadium in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The Jaguars new owner, Shad Khan, is rumoured to have his eye on a move. The Jags are stuck in a small Florida market and find it impossible to fill their stadium.
The NFL is also committed to extending the International Series to two games a year in London. So the NFL could be even more regular visitors to the capital. The 2012 London International Series game will feature the New England Patriots @ St. Louis Rams.
So in this context, the NFL’s increased commitment to the UK, it seems strange that a TV deal hasn’t been locked down. An announcement is expected Tuesday. Watch this space.
NFL UK statement:
“With the new NFL season kicking off next week, we fully understand the concerns of our fans that the full UK broadcast line-up for the new season has not yet been announced, beyond the new Channel 4 agreement for Sunday Night Football and the existing deal with BBC TV for Super Bowl and Wembley/playoff highlights.
We have been in negotiations for some time to extend our broadcasting agreements for this season and will announce the full package for the 2012 season as soon as possible. However, it is possible that this may not be before Tuesday at the earliest. Thank you for your support and patience.”
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