The NFL, or National Football League, is the professional league of American Football, of which, a growing portion of their fanbase resides in the UK and since 2007, the NFL International Series has been exclusively held at Wembley Stadium. That first year, the Miami Dolphins hosted the New York Giants and demand for tickets were so high that 40,000 sold out within the first 90 minutes of them being on sale.
Every year since different teams have played and the support has never waned. The NFL are now planning more international games, some at Twickenham Stadium in London and others at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
What’s Planned for 2016?
If you want to catch the excitement of the sport live in 2016 then head to Wembley Stadium this autumn. On 2nd October the Indianapolis Colts play the Jacksonville Jaguars and on the 30th October, the Washington Redskins play the Cincinnati Bengals. General admission tickets for both games are now sold out, although it’s still possible to attend if you book through one of Wembley Stadium’s hospitality packages.
Why Wembley is The Perfect Venue
Wembley Stadium has been synonymous with sport through the decades. It was built at the end of the First World War and originally known as the Empire Stadium. The building was the centrepiece of a post-war British Empire Exhibition. In the early part of the 21st century it was rebuilt, and it reopened its doors in 2007. The famous twin towers of the original stadium replaced by an iconic arch.
The stadium is now one of the most modern stadiums in the world, with a circumference of 1km and seating for 90,000 people. Even better, none of those seats have obstructed views so you are always guaranteed one of the best seats in the house, wherever you are sitting.
To cater for that many people there are 34 bars, 8 restaurants, and 688 food outlets to choose from. In a standard half-time during football and rugby matches it is estimated that around 40,000 pints of beer are served, so the scale of the operation is incredible.
Getting to Wembley
There is limited parking at Wembley Stadium, as it is designated a public transport destination. If you want to drive ensure you book parking in advance.
Train, tube, and coach access are relatively easy. Wembley is only two stops away from Baker Street on the Metropolitan Line and National Express coaches have dedicated services for events from across the UK.
An alternative, and one which makes a much more special occasion of the day is to charter a helicopter and take in the sights of the capital from above before making your way to one of the NFL Games.
The Future of NFL in the UK
NFL games will continue at Wembley Stadium until at least 2020 and the likelihood is they will go on long after that. Enthusiasm for American Football has reached a level where thousands of people are now playing the game themselves and taking part in amateur games here in the UK. Since the NFL first arrived at Wembley in 2007 participation has risen 15 per cent every year and there are now more than 40,000 people over the age of 16 playing regularly.
American Football is exciting, fast paced and very different to sports we are used to watching in the UK. If you haven’t experienced it first-hand try to make it to one of the games at Wembley or even if you don’t make it there in person, catch up on the action on BBC Sport and iPlayer. You might just become a fan.