This season's NFL matchup at Wembley Stadium in London between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins was the second-fastest selling game in the eight-year history of the professional football league's International Series. Only the inaugural 2007 matchup that pitted the Dolphins against the New York Giants sold out quicker than the game scheduled for Sunday, Alistair Kirkwood, managing director of NFL UK, told Sports Business Journal.
“The demand [for Sunday’s game] has been unbelievable,” Kirkwood said, according to Sports Business Journal.
Tickets to the game range from 17.50-159 pounds, or $26.53-$241.08, according to the NFL UK website. Locals are expected to compose nearly the entire sellout crowd. More than 90 percent of the fans at the game will be from the United Kingdom, with the majority living within a 2.5-hour drive of Wembley, Kirkwood told Sports Business Journal. About 4 percent will come from mainland Europe and about five percent will come from the United States, including expatriates living overseas.
— NFL UK (@nfl_uk) October 2, 2015
The NFL games at Wembley have proven lucrative in the past, if inconvenient for the teams required to make the long haul across the pond. The three matchups last year generated an estimated $30 million in revenue.
"We are very appreciative of the outstanding support from our fans in the U.K., not only for the games at Wembley, but for all of the related NFL events we have hosted throughout the city," NFL Executive Vice President of International Mark Waller said in a statement announcing the 2015 slate of games abroad.
Sunday's game between the Jets and Dolphins will kickoff at 9:30 a.m. EDT, 2:30 p.m. local time. The game will start a long day of television for NFL fans in the U.S. and will be aired on BBC Two abroad.
“We expect to drive really huge audience numbers both on TV and digitally,” Kirkwood said to Sports Business Journal.
Sunday's game is the first of three scheduled matchups at Wembley this season. The Buffalo Bills will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 25, and the Detroit Lions will play the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 1. All three games are expected to be sold out, according to the NFL.
A growing base of fans has taken root overseas and the NFL has expressed interest in playing a full slate of eight home games in London within the next five years. London Mayor Boris Johnson has said he is working hard “working hard” to land a permanent team at soccer team Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium, but numerous obstacles like travel and tighter tax laws remain.