The NFL American football league has announced that it will stage four regular-season matches in London for the first time during its 2017 International Series.
The league staged its inaugural game in London in 2007 and had been running a three-match series since 2014. This will now be expanded with an additional game for the 10th anniversary of the initiative.
The Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints have already been confirmed as the first franchises for the 2017 International Series, with a date and venue for the match to be revealed in due course. Details of the other games, including the fourth match, will be announced by the league on Tuesday.
London’s Wembley Stadium has been used to host all but one of the International Series games, with Twickenham Stadium this year staging the match between the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, and predecessor Boris Johnson, have both spoken of their desire to establish a franchise in London, and the expanded series could help harness more interest and support.
“We continue to be incredibly excited by the passion and love for the NFL shown by our millions of UK fans,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “We have had tremendous support from our fans, from Mayor Khan and other government leaders and business partners, and we are looking forward to taking the next step in the UK by playing four games in London next season.”
Khan added: “London is the international home of the NFL and staging the equivalent of what would be half an American football team’s home games in the city is a huge step towards my ambition of bringing a franchise to the capital.”