Goodell says multiple teams want home game in London

Ultimately, the NFL may seek to have one team have a “home game” in London on annual basis.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have returned there for Sunday’s game with the Chicago Bears at Wembley Stadium. It’s the second time in three years the Bucs have had a home game shifted to the United Kingdom where the Glazers, owners of the Bucs, also own the professional soccer franchise Manchester United.

Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune reports that most clubs are reluctant to give up a home game to play abroad, but noted that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league offers financial incentives for a club willing to make the leap over the Atlantic as the home team.

The plan is to expand to two NFL games in the U.K. on an annual basis, perhaps as soon as 2012. Ratings have grown over there and per the report the television audience for the Super Bowl has grown by 74 percent since 2006.

"We've been very pleased at the reception to the game and the way our business has grown over there," Goodell said. "I think now you want to see if it can be sustained for multiple games."

"When the initial resolution was approved in 2006, the thinking at the time was that we would have two new teams every year," said NFL vice president of International Business Chris Parsons.
"As the series evolved, we felt as though having a team return to the U.K. on a regular basis would certainly increase the fan base for that particular team, which in turn would drive fan growth for the entire league. We think there is a tremendous benefit for a team to return to the U.K. on an annual basis."

Goodell said “there are a number of teams” that want to have a home game in London but he wouldn’t name names.

Perhaps the Bucs will be back in London next season. It’s one way to get a home game on television in the Tampa area.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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