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Issue One REWIRE Magazine

Home Away From Home

Author Rebecca Hargreaves
Published 22 Nov 2023

How the NFL became part of the British Sporting Calendar

When the NFL arrived at Wembley for its first game in the UK in 2007, it could never have been imagined that American football would become a prominent fixture in the British sporting calendar.

Today, the NFL's London Games sell out in hours, teams from across the Pond have legions of loyal supporters and the sport is revered by local fans as if it had been played here for centuries.

This is how American Football conquered the UK...


To kick things off, NFL wanted to put participation at the heart of its growth. By focusing on discovery alongside economic viability, we knew that we could cultivate a grassroots appreciation of the sport while projecting a successful future. At the other end of the spectrum, we wanted to give NFL’s arrival substance, so we helped launch a special Deloitte Economic Report on the impact of the NFL hosting a game in the UK that also highlighted the backing of the UK Government. This was coordinated with an event at Downing Street, replete with then-Chancellor George Osborne playing American football with world-renowned quarterback Dan Marino.


NFL created a scalable broadcast model that catered for both existing and new fans, launching new social channels in the UK that elevated the action in the US while allowing fans on new shores to find the right level of coverage for their fandom. We then harnessed the power of earned media to drive the fan growth, with tactics including the creation of NFL Writers Club, which enabled media to work collaboratively with us to grow storytelling opportunities.


Participation remains key for NFL UK and it worked hard to establish grassroots touchpoints across the country to connect new audiences with the sport. With American football a success with viewing audiences, the exciting part of our job has become celebrating NFL’s work in communities, introducing the sport to new audiences, supporting the growing number of girls and boys falling in love with the game, and highlighting the success of UK stars now excelling in the States.

A growing number of girls and boys falling in love with the game.

So much has been achieved since the first game in London 16 years ago, and as the spectacle of the NFL UK's London Fames continues, the opportunity remains to introduce the sport to potential fans across the country, day-in-day-out.

The NFL in Numbers

  • 4.5 million UK households tune into the Super Bowl every year

  • The number of viewers has risen by 175% since the NFL came to London

  • More than 2.5 million fans have attended and NFL game in London

  • Every NFL Franchise has played at least 1 game in he UK

  • 9% of Britons - that's 6 million people - are interested in the NFL

  • American football is played by 28,000 children in 470 schools in 26 regions of the UK, as part of the NFL Flag programme

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