Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank agreed to have his franchise play a home game in London next season and believes that the NFL may soon have “more than one” expansion team in Great Britain.
In an interview with Peter King of TheMMQB.com on Monday, Blank, who has owned the Falcons since 2002, said that he was “very optimistic” that the NFL’s increasing popularity in London would lead to a permanent franchise in the city and, eventually, to several teams throughout Europe. He noted that all three NFL games scheduled to occur in London next season “sold out immediately.”
“The approach that the international committee and the commissioner have taken is, “Let’s do London right, and then move from there to potentially somewhere else.’ I’m sure there are wonderful cities in Europe, and elsewhere.”
“I think it will lead to [a team],” Blank added. “I think it will start with an increased number of games. That will be translated into a very successful series of games, and eventually, I think a franchise. And maybe more than one. London's a big city.”
Blank believes that the NFL’s expansion to Europe could occur in the near future, in “less [years] than you’d think.”
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“The success has been remarkable, and I don’t see any reason why it’s going to slow down.”
In October 2007, the NFL held its first-ever game at Wembley Stadium in London. Since then, the league has held at least one contest in London every season, with 2013 marking the first time that more than one NFL game was played there in the same year.
On Sept. 28, the Miami Dolphins will face the Oakland Raiders in the first of three games held in London in 2014.