The Washington Post

Atlanta Falcons owner predicts NFL will put team (or teams!) in London

London has a lot of 49ers fans, apparently. (Getty Images)

Since 2007, the NFL has held games each season at London’s Wembley Stadium, and there will be three this season (Raiders-Dolphins on Sept. 28, Falcons-Lions on Oct. 26 and Cowboys-Jaguars on Nov. 9). But if you ask Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, as MMQB’s Peter King did, this is only the beginning.

The MMQB: Is it more likely there would be a franchise in London or that there would be six to eight games a season?

Blank: I think it will lead to [a team]. 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 … I think eventually having that many games says that we really are playing a season in London, so we probably ought to have a team here. I think it will be a natural progression to a team.

The MMQB: In how many years?

Blank: Less than you’d think. The success has been remarkable, and I don’t see any reason why it’s going to slow down.

But wait, you say: How can the NFL be thinking of putting a team (or teams!) in London when it doesn’t have a team in Los Angeles, which is only America’s most-populous U.S. city? Blank apparently thinks there will be a team (or teams!) there, too.

I think there will be one or more teams there in the future. Clearly, in terms of the media market, it’s not made a difference. We’ve had great success—all of our media partners are thrilled with the ratings, etc. But I think to not have one or more teams in L.A., over an extended period of time, on the surface it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. So I think that eventually there will be a team in L.A. It’s a matter of getting the stadium puzzle, getting the public/private partnership puzzle—getting all that worked through and worked out. I can’t see the NFL ignoring the city long-term.

After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and the Post's other Web-based products.



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