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London’s mayor wants an NFL team and the Super Bowl, which seems overly optimistic

London’s mayor wants more of these scenes. (Tim Ireland/Associated Press)

The NFL’s experiment with regular season games played in England will continue in 2018, with three October contests to be played at Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur’s new arena in North London. Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, doesn’t seem satisfied with that.

“My ambition is to have more American football games in London and ultimately for there to be a franchise and, dare I say it, even the Super Bowl,” Khan said in an interview with Talksport.

Tottenham Hotspur’s 62,000-seat stadium, scheduled to open in August, is being built with facilities that are directly designed to support American football, with locker rooms constructed to fit U.S. teams and an artificial-turf field underneath the stadium’s retractable natural-grass pitch. The NFL contributed $13.3 million toward its nearly $600 million construction cost, according to Sports Illustrated. If any team were to relocate to England, it would probably play its home games there.

“Obviously once Spurs open up their stadium that will give us the potential to have more games there but I’m ambitious — the idea is to have eight games in London eventually, which is the number a franchise team plays and then who knows, maybe one day the Super Bowl,” Khan said.

The obstacles to both would be numerous. For one, there doesn’t seem to be an NFL team that’s in danger of relocating at the moment, especially to an area of the globe that would present such logistical challenges. For another, television networks would be loath to move the Super Bowl kickoff any earlier than its 6:30 Eastern start time, which would mean the game would get going at 11:30 p.m. local time in England. But the NFL seems committed to making American football work in London, with a deal in place to play regular season games there through 2027.

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