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NFL to stick with three games for 2015 International Series

The National Football League (NFL) has said Wembley Stadium will again host three regular season games in 2015, with hopes of adding additional encounters ended by logistical issues surrounding London’s status as a host city for the Rugby World Cup.

The NFL expanded to three London games for the first time this year, with the latest encounter seeing a late Matt Prater field goal settle a thrilling encounter in a 22-21 win for the Detroit Lions over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

The game’s 1:30pm (GMT) kick-off also created history as the earliest start for American viewers in the league’s history. SportBusiness International understands that talks have been held to expand the International Series to five games, but NFL UK managing director Alistair Kirkwood told BBC World Service that this won’t happen in 2015.

“We are going to do three games next year, and looking at staging two games back to back in successive weeks to test this support base,” he said. “There are some logistic reasons around the Rugby World Cup that means we won't be going to four or five.”

The 2015 Rugby World Cup runs from September 18 to October 31, cutting across the main window for NFL games in London. Wembley is one of the English capital’s three venues for the rugby union showpiece, alongside Twickenham and the Olympic Stadium, and is due to host games on September 20 and September 27.

The final game of the 2014 International Series will take place on November 9 when the Jacksonville Jaguars host the Dallas Cowboys.