Why it makes no sense for London to have an NFL team – Quartz

After another two sell-out matches at Wembley, momentum is growing for a permanent NFL team in London.

The league is keen: a fan base in the UK would open up a new market, generating revenue from tickets, merchandise and broadcasting rights. George Osborne, the British chancellor, wants one too. This week a report by Deloitte said such a team would boost the UK economy by over £100 million ($160 million) a year. And so does Wembley itself. Crowds for England soccer matches have slid since the team’s dismal performance at the 2014 World Cup, and, despite regular pop concerts, Wembley is unused for most days in the year.

But there are several big, and possibly insurmountable, problems in bringing football to London. First is the tyranny of distance. London is 5,300 km away from the home of the nearest NFL team, the New England Patriots. An away game at the San Diego Chargers would require a round trip of around 17,000 km. Teams play a minimum of 16 games in a season, which means a minimum of eight trips to the US. Although the International Federation of Sports Medicine says there is “no consistent or compelling scientific evidence showing that either air travel across multiple time zones or jet lag symptoms causes a reduction in sport performance,” it is easy to believe that athletes would be mentally, if not physically, drained from regular long-haul travel. Merely the time spent in the air (and readjusting body clocks) would cut into the hours available for training and preparation.

Currently, London hosts several league games in the regular season (known as the International Series). These teams are granted a week off afterwards to recover. If this principle was applied to London and its opponents, it would require lengthening the season by weeks. …read more

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