With the biggest game in American sport concluded, the Lombardi trophy lifted by the New England Patriots for the sixth time, we can look forward to the 2019 NFL season and what it has to offer. While many in the US may be burnt out from the regular appearance of the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, the interest and growth elsewhere is only going one way, upwards.
recently produced an infographic to introduce everybody to America’s biggest game and realized that the interest in the NFL in the UK has been sneakily increasing at a high rate. While massive in the United States, American Football is nowhere near these levels elsewhere in the world. Soccer dominates, and American Football will not knock it off the top spot any time soon, if ever. But the rate at which UK interest in the sport cannot go by unnoticed anymore. More businesses are getting involved, whether it be sponsoring the sport or getting involved in local events and teams. As the sport continues to grow, potentially knocking off other more popular sports, it’ll be much harder to get involved.
It’s never been more evident than looking at the attendance numbers from the NFL International London games that are hosted every year. 3-4 games every season are played at Wembley and other stadiums, to offer in-person NFL experiences that just won’t be possible elsewhere unless you make the trip to the USA.
As the image above shows, attendance at the NFL London games has only been increasing, year-on-year. Ever since increasing the number of games in 2013, attendance has shot up dramatically, with its highest ever attendance numbers coming in 2017 at 316,988 spread across 4 games. While it slightly decreased in 2018, this was only due to a stadium delay, meaning the 4 games planned had to be reduced to 3. If all had gone to planned, 2018 would have smashed the previous year record. While this is exciting news for the sport, earlier in 2018, the NFL announced that it had agreed to a 10-year deal with Tottenham Hotspur to host 2 games per year at their new stadium. Even going as far to incorporate a separate pitch that rises, solely for the NFL. While rumors are often plenty in the off-season, there have been talks of there being a London expansion team joining the NFL, which would be a huge undertaking. While this is very unlikely to happen soon, it only seems inevitable given enough time and support.
Businesses and marketers should see this as an excellent opportunity to jump on board, as give it a few more years and the numbers will potentially double. Consider looking into sponsorship of the NFL, which many big businesses are already doing. Sponsor local events and teams, with far more teams being established than people realize. Nearly every University has an American Football team, with an established University league already gaining popularity. This development and investment at the youth level is key to a growing sport and we can’t see it slowing down any time soon.
Don’t miss out on this prime opportunity to get involved in a growing sport, leave it too late and you’ll be on the outside, looking in.