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Intro: London NFL fans
London NFL fans, yes I would say I’m a fan of both. Both London and NFL games that is. So, when you combine the two it makes the perfect pair! Going to the NFL London games is a really fun experience!
I’ve visited London several times and it’s definitely a city I could continue to return to over and over again. When you visit London for the first time, there’s never enough time to do everything!
In 2017 & 2022 my husband and I traveled to London for the NFL London games. Our team, the Minnesota Vikings played in London these years so we took a trip across the pond as an excuse to go to London and see the American football games. In 2022, we fit in the game and even a craft beer afternoon in Southern London known as the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
History of the NFL London Games
Most International NFL (National Football League) games have been played in London.
The NFL International series started in 2007. The New York Giants played the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium in London. Since then, in 2013 two games were played in London, the following year it was three games. Then in 2017 & 2019 there were four NFL London games.
The two games I went to consisted of the Minnesota Vikings playing the Browns at Twickenham Stadium in 2017 and the Minnesota Vikings playing the Saints at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2022. Both the Saints and the Vikings played in London for the third time in 2022. Games were played in Munich, Germany, and Mexico City in 2022. Three of the 5 games, however, were played in London.
The 2022 International Games experienced record-breaking attendance and viewing as the demand and fan base continues to grow in London and throughout the world.
2017 Twickenham Stadium
Twickenham Stadium hosted some of the games, but since it’s a rugby stadium it didn’t quite make sense. One of the NFL London games we attended was at Twickenham in 2017 when the Vikings played the Browns.
2022 Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
In 2019, the shift from the previous venue of Twickenham Stadium to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium occurred.
At both of the stadiums, there were many vendors around selling unofficial NFL merchandise at small kiosks. However, there was also a long line to get into the official NFL fan shop London.
American Football & NFL London Fans
The NFL London games don’t have the same teams playing every year. This makes it a little harder to develop a loyal fanbase. Other considerations include the expense and the lack of an experience. Unfortunately, this may continue to be the case until there is an NFL franchise in London.
When the NFL regular season schedule comes out, it’s around the same time that it’s announced what teams will be playing in the International Games for the season. The teams that travel to London each year change with only one exception, the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars have a contract with Wembley that they will play one of their eight home games at Wembley Stadium in London.
Guide to London NFL Game Day
Get there earlier than you think you need to! Get to the stadium at least a few hours before the game is supposed to start. Especially if you want to purchase any commemorative merchandise.
The lines for the merchandise store tend to get long and you want to be sure to have time to enjoy the pre-game festivities outside of the stadium. Several vendors sell beer and food and there’s just a buzz in the air of excitement.
The NFL bag policy applies at the London Games, so be prepared for that. There’s a very strict size requirement that’s allowed. Only small clutches 4.5 x 6.6 inches OR a clear bag. The clear bags can be a maximum size of 12 x 12 x 6 inches. Typically you can purchase NFL team-branded or general NFL-branded bags in this specific size. There are also several online trendy stores that are selling small clear cross-body bags.
Unlike going to an NFL game in the States, you will notice that many people will wear any NFL jersey they own regardless if the actual team was playing or not.
Another key indicator that the crowd was British or not was the crowd booing when the players would go to kick. I actually asked someone why they do this because I was confused! It’s because they think it’s boring, not that it’s actually a bad thing. We were so confused at first!
Is the NFL popular in London?
The NFL is gaining popularity in London as they have hosted International games starting in 2007. With more games occurring there and more curiosity building the NFL is gaining popularity in London and the United Kingdom. Besides the NFL London games, London football fans even watch the games on TV.
Are there a lot of NFL fans in London?
The NFL’s market research has indicated that there are 13 million NFL fans in the UK. While 4 million of them are more avid fans. Many avid fans try to get tickets to the NFL International games each year. Some of the fanbase comes from ex-pats living in the London area.
Who has the biggest NFL fanbase in London?
The Miami Dolphins have a large fanbase in London. This team has played in London on five different occasions so it’s no surprise that British NFL fans gravitate toward the Florida-based NFL team. However, at different periods of time when polled the New York Giants and Chicago Bears also rated high.
How do NFL teams fly to London?
Most teams will fly a chartered airplane with the NFL football players to London. It gives the experience of a private plane without actually having the overhead cost of owning the plane. The only NFL team that has its own plane is the New England Patriots.
Does the NFL sell out in London?
Absolutely. The NFL reported in 2019 that the games were twelve times in demand in relation to the number of tickets that were available. This equates to roughly 750,000 fans that weren’t able to purchase tickets but wanted to. This is a really good indication of the level of interest in the sport in London.
Can you drink at NFL games in London?
Yes, you can purchase alcoholic beverages at the London NFL games. The rule of thumb is that you can drink in your seat at all of the USA NFL stadiums and the same was true at the NFL London games. This is different from soccer matches in England where you cannot drink alcohol while seated.
How many Americans go to NFL games in London?
Many Americans take the opportunity to go to London through the NFL London games. The crowds at the games are usually a mixed bunch of Americans, ex-pats, and British citizens. It isn’t recorded how many of the attendees at the London games are actually American.
Do British people watch the NFL games?
Yes, American football London is more popular in the UK than you would think. But, a survey conducted also had an outcome stating that British people find American football boring. There are millions of people in the UK that enjoy American football. Several hundred thousand would like to attend a game in person.
Will the NFL expand to Europe?
The United Kingdom market is growing. Will it be enough for the NFL to officially expand into an NFL London franchise? Only time will tell! If a small number of fans became dedicated American football fans it would be a strong business case to have an official branch of the NFL in Europe.
Final Thoughts: London NFL fans
As the NFL franchise continues to host international games, the London NFL fans and fanbase will continue to grow. Both Americans traveling abroad to see their favorite team play and British or European fans getting into the NFL games more and more.
Whether you’re an American flying to London to take in the game, an ex-pat looking for a slice of American nostalgia, or a British citizen interested in American football it’s a fun time. It’s not the super bowl, but maybe someday that will be in London! Traveling for events whether a concert or sporting event is the perfect reason to take a trip somewhere you might not otherwise go.