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Posted at 11:26 AM ET, 10/21/2011

NFL London: Sluggish ticket sales may hurt league’s plans to move franchise to England

Roger Goodell is calling for a second game to be added to the NFL’s International Series in London each year, citing the huge success the series has been so far to date. And it’s very true. American football is wildly popular in the United Kingdom, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan club there — ‘Bucs UK’ run by Paul Stewart — one of the biggest international NFL fan clubs with over 300 members.
England loves its rugby, but is it really ready to embrace American football? (Tom Hevezi - AP)

And it’s not just the UK. The NFL makes its Sunday games viewable over the internet throughout Europe in countries like Germany and Italy where viewership has been increasing... There are even NFL fans in Australia who download games using BitTorrent technology to keep up with the NFL.

So it sounds like a no-brainer that there will be two games in London starting as soon as next year. Well, maybe... if they could sell all the tickets to one game a year. That’s right, with a mere two days until the event, the International Series game between the Bears an Bucs in Wembley Stadium is still not sold out. No word on if House of Parliament has a 75 KM blackout rule!

Event organizers say the problem was the late start caused by the lockout this summer. Normally NFL stars would have been in England to rouse up interest for the game, and that did not happen because of the labor disagreement this offseason. But two years ago when the Bucs played the New England Patriots, that game sold out in eight minutes flat. Now they can’t sell out with 72 hours left until kickoff? What gives?

Pounds! That’s what. The International Series it would seem has fallen prey to good old fashion western greed. The ticket prices have been increased across the board about by about 20 percent. Tickets that were £55 are now £60. Upper level seats that were £70 are now £80, and the top of the line seats which a few years ago topped out at £100 have skyrocketed to £149 for premium club. Mind you, a £10 increase is a $15 jump for us. Those seats that were £60 or $94 are now $110. You’d Pay $235 for the best in the house this year, and that’s an increase from $157.

So while the the interest may be there for a second game, it won’t do anyone any good if it’s priced outside of what the average ‘bloke’ can afford. Shilling for your thoughts?

By Nick Houllis  |  11:26 AM ET, 10/21/2011

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