Monday, June 2, 2014
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Atlanta Falcons team owner Arthur Blank believes London will eventually land an NFL franchise. (Reuters)
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank believes London will eventually get an NFL team.
When Peter King of theMMQB.com asked Blank over the weekend if London would get more games or a franchise, the Falcons owner said, “I think it will lead to (a team),” Blank said.
“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.”
Blank said the process of landing a franchise in London may not take that long.
“Less than you’d think,” he said. “The success has been remarkable, and I don’t see any reason why it’s going to slow down.”
Blank pointed out that each of the three games scheduled for this year — 240,000 tickets — are sold out.
“I think that it’s proved conclusive that fans will come out when they see the real players playing games that are really meaningful, as opposed to NFL Europe,” Blank said. “There’s been discussion about potentially having a franchise in London. I’m very optimistic. 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.”
The biggest concern over having a team in Europe is overseas travel, but the NFL has gradually increased the number of games in London in recent years.