How Popular is NFL in the UK?
Americans aren’t the only ones watching American football. In fact, people all over Europe tune in to watch NFL games. Of course, it isn’t anywhere near as popular as what Americans call ‘soccer’, but it’s growing in popularity.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the NFL’s viewership in the UK and discuss just how many people regularly tune in.
The UK Has Many Fans of the NFL
Sports fan all over the UK have come to love the NFL. In fact, it’s a favourite among sports bettors who like to make watching the games mean more than just observing two foreign teams.
Gambling on NFL games has become quite popular, and many people search for NFL tips to make sure they’re making informed bets before they place their wagers.
Some fans even travel internationally to attend games in the United States. Fortunately, the NFL makes a habit of regularly hosting international games.
London Will Host Two NFL Games
In the 2023 season, there will be two games in London:
- Jacksonville Jaguars vs Buffalo Bills – Oct 8th
- Baltimore Ravens vs Tennessee Titans – Oct 15th
These two match ups should be exciting as the Jags finally seem to have gotten their ducks in a row, with an impressive showing last season. Meanwhile the Bills have been solid ever since getting Josh Allen behind centre.
Next, Lamar Jackson is always electrifying, and Ryan Tannehill has a big arm. These are welcome matchups after the NFL was criticized for only sending out teams with losing records most of the time. Thankfully, last year they changed this policy and sent the Packers to play the Giants in London.
A Brief Look at the History of the NFL’s International Series
The NFL hasn’t exactly had a marathon of international games. Their International Series has only been in existence since 2007. Since then, Wembley Stadium in London has hosted at least one NFL game every season up until 2019.
The first-ever NFL game in London was between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants. It resulted in a 13-10 victory for the Giants. Since 2007, London has hosted a total of 32 NFL games, with two more slated for the month of October. We expect this trend to continue.
In fact, the NFL isn’t the only league that’s playing in the UK.
NCAA Football Has Been Played in the UK Too
NCAAF has had a long history of international games, going all the way back to the 1800s when they played in Canada. Over the years, they have hosted games in Japan, Cuba, Austria, Germany and New Zealand, among other destinations.
This, of course, includes the UK. London hosted their first-ever NCAA football match in 1988 when Richmond beat Boston University 20-17. Although there haven’t been any others in London, nearby Dublin has had many, including a match last season between Northwestern and Nebraska, two power five programs.
In the 2024 season, Dublin will host Florida State vs Georgia Tech in their season openers, which is an in-conference game.
Why Do Some People in the UK Love NFL?
This is a fair question, because as a sports fan, you might understand that if you don’t have a home team to root for, the experience of watching the games can be less exciting. However, some fans of sports will adopt a team that they previously had no connection to.
This could be for any number of reasons, including liking a team’s playing style, a particular player or players, their coach or even something as simple as their logo. Cheering on one team to win makes the viewing experience that much more fun.
Then, of course, there’s the betting aspect. Fans who enjoy sports betting tend to place wagers in order to make watching the games more engaging, and also to hopefully make money while they’re at it.
Lastly, there is the possibility of having some connection to a certain team despite being born and raised in the UK. This could be as simple as having a relative in a certain US city where there’s a nearby team or having visited the team’s city. There are also plenty of Americans living abroad that are likely to want to go see NFL teams play.
To sum things up, the NFL is popular enough in the UK to bring in a couple of games per year on a consistent basis. These games do sell a lot of tickets, often selling out. We expect to see more games played in London every year, and possibly even more games per season played there.