View From Across The Pond: Oddschecker UK’s NFL Ambassador Jeff Reinebold believes that an NFL franchise in the UK ‘Will happen within the next 24 months’ and that having a franchise on these shores ‘is an eventuality’.
British bookie Sky Bet were quick to price up the possibility on the back of Reinebold’s comments, offering odds of +700 on a franchise being officially announced before 1st January 2021.
Speaking ahead of Super Bowl LIII, the Hamilton Tiger Cats Special Teams Coach discussed how the game has grown around the globe. The 61-year-old has a better view of the expansion than most in his position as a pundit on Sky Sports’ NFL programming.
“It’s been amazing for me to watch how the game has grown over here,” he said, “not only the fandom but the amount of knowledge the UK fans have for the NFL.
“All players that come over here are shocked at how knowledgeable the fans are.
“Every time they set up hurdles to see if UK fans would support the game, in every case the UK fans have responded. And that’s why I think, in 24 months, we’ll have an NFL franchise in London.
“I don’t think there’s any question about it now. The fact is, you can sell out a game, 85,000 tickets in hours after going on sale.
“One of the things they did is say is ‘let’s put three games in a row and see if it doesn’t dwindle’, and the fans are then setting attendance records.
“It’s an eventuality, it’s a business, and when you are a struggling franchise in the US and you don’t fill your stadiums, then you look at what is possible here and you realise you have a captive market in one of the world’s greatest big cities. It’s a no-brainer.
“I think it won’t be an expansion, it will be a team that’s playing right now and they will see this as a real possibility to not only make a mark but corner the market.
“These fans are so passionate, about sport in general. They will support a team here, I truly believe that.”
Should the unpreceded announcement occur, then the debate about what to call the team would begin. The London Monarchs was the original name of the franchise in the now-defunct NFL Europe league, and that is second in the market at +200.
The favourite is the London Jaguars, which would almost certainly see Fulham Football Club owner Shahid Khan relocate his Jacksonville team to the capital. That’s a +150 shot.
If you want something a bit avant-garde, then put your money on the London Brexiters, or the London Remainers, both priced at +50000!