I say "London" you say... "Football"?
But which team or league or even sport are we talking about here?
Today I'm talking good old American Football, of the NFL variety.
Football in England, isn't that...?
Many people start thinking soccer, but the NFL has been busy as bees, taking their grand show on the road in recent years. In fact 2017 year marks the 10th anniversary of the current International Series.
Scheduled 2007 through to 2020 at London's Wembley Stadium, the Series has also enjoyed a game each at both Twickenham (also London) and Mexico City's Estadio Azteca - the former being more well-known for its rugby atmosphere.
Speaking of International Rugby...
Did you know that yours truly moonlighted with an all-China recreational league for three seasons? Below: That's me in the last moments I had a stitches free face, 5th from the right.
While based out of Kunming in China's south-western Yunnan province, I played three seasons with the Kunming Flying Tigers. An excellent opportunity to dri... *clears throat* network my way around the expatriate communities of China's larger cities.
I played my last match with the Tigers in Chongqing, China - a province sized city of roughly 30M people and possibly the biggest place no one's ever heard of...
Breaking into China
During my most recent visit to Chonging, I crossed paths with a Chinese colleague and
shared a coffee and a chat with his group of business-folk. In this instance, two Fox Sports executives - something that didn't strike me as anything more than interesting until researching this very article...
It seems the NFL may have green eyes for the Chinese market after Yao Ming's basketball success in the country. Basketball is REALLY popular in China these days and with a market of more than a billion potential fans, everyone wants in.
But does the American sport have a chance?
London and the Inspiration for the International Series
The more traditional version of football in Europe (soccer) has seen a huge incursion into the North American market since the genius move (and super gamble) by the LA Galaxy to contract David Beckham at an eye-watering $255,000,000 back in the year...
Wait for it...
I'm no conspiracy theorist, but you can just imagine the heads of the NFL losing their respective minds when a competing sport makes a move like that.
In the end, if it gets people travelling or even talking about travel, I'm all for it.
Want to know more about how you too can see the game at London's Wembley and see the Miami Dolphins thrash the New Orleans Saints on the other side of the pond?