The NFL has been playing regular-season games in England since 2007, and if the mayor of London gets his way, the city might soon land an even bigger game.
During a recent interview with Talksport, London mayor Sadiq Khan said that he would like to see a Super Bowl awarded to his city at some point in the near future. Khan is also hoping to that the NFL will award a franchise to London.
"I've been saying since the first day I became mayor my ambition is to have more American football games in London and ultimately for there to be a franchise there and, dare I say it, even the Super Bowl," Khan said. "I met recently one of the owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Shahid Khan. I've met the NFL commissioner on a number of occasions, most recently at the game at Twickenham this year and my team is working very closely with the NFL."
The idea of putting an NFL franchise in London is something that has been discussed by the league multiple times over the past few years. Back in April 2016, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell even admitted that there NFL team at some point in the future.that London could land an
One of the biggest issues facing the league when it comes to a potential team in London is the playoffs. The NFL hasn't figured out what would happen if a team in San Diego or San Francisco had to fly all the way to London on a short week during the postseason. Despite that, the NFL's executive vice president of international, Mark Waller, has gone on the record saying that London could have a team by 2022, which is only four years away.
When it comes to getting a team -- or even the Super Bowl -- the thing working in London's favor is the fact that the city will soon have three NFL-ready stadiums, including a $1.04 billion stadium that's set to open in 2018. The NFL is so excited about the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium that the league has already agreed to play at least two games per season there over a 10-year period starting this year. The NFL reportedly chipped in $10 million to the cost of the Tottenham stadium.
The NFL also uses Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stadium for games.
Although the NFL will bein 2018 -- down from four in 2017 -- that's only because there are some scheduling issues at Twickenham Stadium, which won't host any NFL games this year.
Even if London doesn't land a Super Bowl or a franchise in the immediate future, Khan did mention something that CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported back in September: London could be getting as many as eight regular season games per season in the near future. The thinking behind that is that eight games is a full home schedule, which means the NFL would get a good idea of whether or not there's support in London for a potential franchise.
"This year we'll have three games in our city for a variety of reasons to do with the availability of Twickenham and other issues," Khan said. "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!"
If Khan is hoping to get a franchise or a Super Bowl in London before he leaves office, that gives him until at least 2020, when the next mayoral election is held. If he wins that, then he'd have until 2024 to try and get the NFL's biggest game moved to England.
This isn't the first time Khan has made some interesting statements about London and the NFL. During a 2017 interview with ESPN.com, Khan said that there were at least two NFL teams out there that have expressed an interest in permanently relocating to his city.
"The dream is to have a permanent NFL franchise based here," Khan said. "There are a couple of teams interested -- it takes 75 percent of the 32 teams to vote for it, if it's to happen."
Although Khan didn't name the teams, it seems pretty clear that the NFL has a pretty serious relationship with London and that relationship could be getting even more serious in the very near future.