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Email Conversations: The NFL In London

by Dan Gunderson

This week's email conversation between Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson and Brad "The White Shadow" Jones takes on the topic of why the NFL is playing regular season games in London. 

Dan Gunderson
Sep 24 (2 days ago)

To Bradley,

Is the NFL playing games in London a good idea? Full disclosure, I took this question from 740 The Fan's Facebook page but I liked it enough to ask it here. I don't think it is a good idea but I can't condemn them from trying it. Isn't the idea of business to grow and expand? The NFL already dominates the United States so why not try it in other countries. London, to me, is the most convenient in some ways but I would say Mexico, Latin America and even Canada make the most sense. I know they've tried regular season games in Toronto and Mexico City. Why London?

Bradley Jones
12:38 PM (3 hours ago)

To Daniel Gunderson,

The best businesses in the world don't just sit and count money, they find ways to make more. They are pretty much tapping out the American market so they need to go someplace else. London is the next logical place after Toronto and Mexico City. The question is if people will attend if it isn't just an annual event. Will they sell out the stadium eight times per year to hold a team there? I think that's why more games are there and will continue to be there.

Dan Gunderson
1:32 PM (2 hours ago)

To Bradley,

I'm not going to try and compare what the NFL is doing now to NFL Europe. That was a summer minor league for the NFL because they could do it. This is the top players on the top teams. However, doesn't the NFL care about public appearance and fanfare? I get the impression that no one in London really cares about the NFL being there and that is a bad public perception. You are taking a home game away from Vikings fans and telling Steelers fans, which nationwide might be a prevalent as Cowboys, Broncos and Pats fans, that even though this is maybe the one time you have to see the Steelers, we care more about going to a country that doesn't appreciate us. Just looks bad on both fronts. Looks worse if they continue this for another, say five to ten years.

Bradley Jones
1:48 PM (2 hours ago)

To Dan Gunderson,

Vikings fans might be excited to have one less game to pay for to watch their terrible team. I don't think you can make the blanket statement saying that people in London don't care about the NFL, at least not yet. If the NFL knew one way or another if the market would support an NFL team, a decision already would have been made. There either would be a team moving or no more games. I don't believe the NFL is sure yet, and that's why they are continuing to do a game here and there. And please, you know when the NFL is going to care about fanfare and public perception? When less people watch on TV and advertisers bail, and only then.

Dan Gunderson
2:10 PM (1 hour ago)

To Bradley,

I suppose we can say it obvious the NFL does not care about Frank in Eden Prairie and his once in a lifetime opportunity to see his Steelers play the Vikings. They care more about growing into a global market. Do they care at all about their employees? Players are not all happy about having to travel over seas to play a football game that does not have the same passionate fan base they do in Pittsburgh or Minnesota. I understand that in the end, if your boss wants you to go there, you will go there. You are getting paid to play football but it still rubs me the wrong way that they are taking away Regular Season games from fans. I say, if you want, have a team play all their pre-season games overseas, in Toronto or in Mexico City. Not regular season games. That may be the whole crux of the issue.

Bradley Jones
2:40 PM (1 hour ago)

To Daniel Gunderson,

I see that point, but if the NFL wants to grow that's not going to happen by forcing London to watch 3rd and 4th string players. They need to see the starters. I don't see this London experiment going on forever. There will either be a team there, or they just won't have games there anymore, similar to Mexico City. Players are not all happy about going to London, but I bet there are just as many, if not more, that do enjoy the experience of traveling overseas and seeing someplace new. The attendance for the Bucs-Bears game in 2011 was over 76,000, so it's not like they are playing in an empty stadium by any means.

Dan Gunderson
2:59 PM (1 hour ago)

To Bradley,

The Bears/Bucs game is a bad example to use. They have had crowds of over 80,000 for every game in England outside of that game. Also, this isn't a sight seeing trip for these players. They are teams that are desperately looking for a win this season. I think the furthest thing from their mind is going to see the London Tower. Those points aside, why has the NFL ignored going back to Mexico City? 103,000 plus for the one game they played there, teams that probably get attention when they play in America during the regular season like Dallas, Houston, Arizona, etc... That seems like the more logical place to continue this International Series.

Bradley Jones
3:49 PM (18 minutes ago)

To Daniel Gunderson,

There is more money to be made in European countries than there is to be made in Mexico. Remember, this always comes back to money. Travel logistics can be figured out and it's not like these guys are cramming into coach to get there. I think their charter planes will get them to London efficiently and with plenty of comfort. And why is the Bears/Bucs game a bad example? On the lowest attended game over there they still had better attendance than many of the games in the US for some of the Jacksonvilles of the world.

Dan Gunderson
4:00 PM (7 minutes ago)

To Bradley,

Jacksonville might like Wembley Stadium since they are going to be playing one game a year there for the next four or five years. I suppose they may be the measuring stick to see if the NFL would ever work in London. I just don't think it will and I think the NFL is wasting our time (fans) and the players time with this experiment. 

You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.