Check us out! The US Dollar may be going in the toilet but American sports aren’t going out like that. They’ll take Europe one way or another. The NFL and NBA are planning to have more exhibition and regular season games in Europe in the near future.
The NFL has tossed out the possibility of having a regular season game in the UK as much as once a month during the season.
“The numbers were extraordinarily positive. We made the subsequent decision not just to return for this year but to return for the next three years,” NFL international operations manager Mark Waller said.
“This is me speaking at the moment but I can see no reason why one day you wouldn’t be able to buy, say, a game season ticket for four games that come into the U.K., say once a month.
“There is no reason you couldn’t have a game in the U.K. at a venue every month and that would enable you to have a mini-season.”
… “The biggest and, I think, the only resistance that we have to deal with is we play very few games. Therefore at the moment without extending the season the only way we can play games internationally is if we don’t play them in the U.S,” he said.
Lean back. Genius at work.
Waller says he’s speaking for himself but this has to be a thought in the league offices especially with the larger crowds and exchange rates. Teams may bitch and moan but if the Dolphins and Giants can sell, anything can and the NFL will do anything for a profit.
Not wanting to be left off the European gravy train, the NBA is increasing the number of games played in Europe. The Wizards, Hawks, Heat and Hornets will all play exhibition games this fall in London, Berlin, Barcelona and Paris. There’s not much to be said for quality but maybe they figure no one will know Shaq’s not on Heat and Jon Koncak isn’t on the Hawks anymore before they buy their tickets.
NBA Commish David Stern admits it’s about the money and fall of the dollar. Straight cash homey.
“Playing ‘friendlies’ is a historically known format outside the US. It puts less stress on us economically. Fans get to know us,” Stern said.
“Now that we have arenas like the (ones in London and Berlin), we have the economic base to support regular season games. With the changes in the economic environment, particularly the dollar to the European currency, we might have the support for regular season games. But we’re happy with the friendlies.”
Fans will love getting to know the New Jersey Nets. Maybe they can send the Clippers, Grizzle and Washington Generals before the 2009 season. That’ll really make the European fans beg for more.