The NFL UK office – based in London – is responsible for managing the NFL’s business in the United Kingdom and overseeing the continued development of professional American football. This includes building the NFL’s fanbase, creating local broadcast and sponsorship deals and developing important relationships within the sporting, governmental and commercial communities.
Led by managing director Alistair Kirkwood, NFL UK features a mix of full-time staff and consultants. The office is responsible for the promotion of the International Series of regular-season games in London and staging fan engagement events across the United Kingdom, such as Super Bash and promotional tours.
Since 2007, fourteen NFL regular season games have been played at Wembley Stadium; the Miami Dolphins hosted the New York Giants (2007), the New Orleans Saints took on the San Diego Chargers (2008), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers battled the New England Patriots (2009), the San Francisco 49ers played the Denver Broncos (2010), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the Chicago Bears (2011) and the St. Louis Rams faced the New England Patriots (2012).
On Sunday, September 29, 2013, the Minnesota Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers at London’s Wembley Stadium 34-27. For the first time, two Wembley games were staged in one season, with the San Francisco 49ers beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 42-10 on Sunday, October 27.
In response to outstanding and growing fan support of football in the United Kingdom, the NFL took the historic step in its international development in 2014 to stage three regular-season games in the UK. The Miami Dolphins beat the Oakland Raiders 38-14 in Week 4, the Atlanta Falcons lost 22-21 to the Detroit Lions in Week 8 and in Week 10 the Dallas Cowboys beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-17. Three more games were hosted at Wembley Stadium in 2014 with the New York Jets beating the Miani Dolphins 27-14, the Jacksonville Jaguars narrowly defeating the Buffalo Bills 34-31 and the Kansas City Chiefs enjoting a comfortable victory over the Detroit Lions 45-10. Since 2007 over one million fans have packed attended an International Series game at Wembley.
NFL UK is also responsible for staging fan events in the UK. Prior to the 2010 International Series between the 49ers and Broncos, the inaugural NFL Fan Rally in London’s Trafalgar Square attracted a crowd of more than 44,000. Earlier on the same day, a group of fans had met Commissioner Roger Goodell in his first UK Fan Forum. Those events took place again prior to the 2011 and 2012 International Series games, but for the first time Friday Night Lights took place in Trafalgar Square in 2011, when the movie, Jerry Maguire, was screened to thousands of fans. In 2013, 2014 and 2015 we took over Regent Street before three of the Wembley games where more than half a million people joined us on each ocassion to celebrate the NFL being in London. In 2014 and 2015 we staged three huge fan events before each Wembley game, NFL On Regent Street, Trafalgar Square Fan Rally, NFL All Access at Wembley Stadium as well as a ground breaking Fan Forum which attarcated over 900 passionate fans.
Each year since 2004, NFL fans have gathered at Super Bash, the NFL’s official UK Super Bowl viewing party. For the past few years the event has been staged at indigo at The O2.
NFL UK’s broadcasting platforms are very impressive. Sky Sports and BBC combine to provide comprehensive coverage of the sport via digital and terrestrial platforms, while the league’s official website – nfluk.com – boasts 350,000 registered members.
The Super Bowl is broadcast live on BBC and Sky Sports and attracted a combined audience of 4.3 million in February 2014. Whilst fans can also watch games online via NFL Game Pass.