NFL London Games: What the EPL can learn from American football

LONDON – This year’s slate of NFL London Games came to an end on Sunday as the Denver Broncos beat the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.

A record 86,215 fans – the largest ever for an NFL game in London – packed into the iconic football stadium to watch the game, which ended 21-17 to the Broncos with a late touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Latavius​​ Murray.

Insider was in London for the event, where it spoke to a number of fans about the day and what they think British sport, more specifically the English Premier League, can learn from it.

Make it a show, but not too much

Make it a show, but not too much

Currently, the NFL only hosts two to four games in London each year, so it makes sense that a song-and-dance is made of each one. Read also : Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, a cheerleader for Indian markets and an invaluable friend.

There will be live music, fireworks, and cheerleaders; T-shirt guns, DJs, and giant mascots on the tunnel.

Unlike an EPL match, where there is at least very rarely one of the above, it is a real pleasure as a spectator.

Although such luxury every week would be unrealistic, a little boring, and let’s face it, very un-British – Chris, a Jaguars and Arsenal fan, thinks taking a leaf out of the NFL’s London Games book wouldn’t be a bad idea for the ‘EPL.

“It’s just so much fun,” he said. “It would be cool to see the Premier League make more of a show of matches, especially because the tickets are expensive.

“You definitely get your value for money here.”

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Protect the players

In the EPL on Sunday, Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez was allowed to continue playing after a head collision with a team-mate, only to later collapse on the ground and have to leave because, according to The Athletic, he suffered a “delayed onset” reaction to the blow. This may interest you : Roster Moves: Jaguars add 11 practice squad.

To replace the Argentinian, Villa used a “substitution clause”, which allows teams to make an additional substitution if a player is diagnosed with a concussion.

However, the rule has been criticized by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), which suggests that such changes should be temporary to allow for longer medical assessments of players who suffer head injuries and avoid hasty decisions on players’ fitness to back to the field.

The NFL’s concussion protocol isn’t perfect. In fact, it has come under scrutiny in recent weeks following the injury to Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

That being said, the protocol is still clearer and more comprehensive than that of the EPL.

Let fans drink

Drinking alcohol in the stands at an EPL game has been banned since 1985 to combat hooliganism. On the same subject : Bair: ‘Don’t let it define us’ must be Falcons mantra rebounding from loss to Saints.

The NFL London Games are proof that allowing UK sports fans to drink in the stands can be done safely and without problems.

Hooliganism in UK football unfortunately still exists, but most EPL fans are just like those who would have attended the NFL London Games – sports enthusiasts out for a fun afternoon with their friends and family.

Even if the police agree, it would be a recipe for disaster to allow free drinking at football matches. Introducing a drink token system, however, to prevent binge drinking could be one way around the problem.

“I’d love to be able to drink in my seat at [football] matches,” said Charlie, a Jaguars and Chelsea fan. “It’s a shame that the minority who cause trouble are able to ruin it for everyone else.”

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Don’t go abroad

The idea of ​​hosting EPL matches abroad has been floated around for years but never caught on – with supporters of the idea often referring to the success of the NFL’s London Games as proof that it works.

However, there is a big difference between the EPL and the NFL, which negates the need for EPL games abroad.

Between six and eight of the EPL teams already play abroad every season in the Champions League, Europa League or Conference League, while almost every club spends preseason matches all over the world, including in the United States.

“There’s really no need,” said United fan Aaran, when asked about the idea of ​​EPL hosting matches abroad. “I don’t think many fans would pay all that money to watch their team play another English team abroad.”

Even outside the EPL, football has the World Cup, the European Championships, and other international tournaments, which fans of the sport have many opportunities to travel.

The NFL, aside from its annual trip to London and its upcoming games in Mexico and Germany, still exists in its own US microcosm.

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