New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is pushing for an NFL team in London in the next decade. (Elsa/Getty Images)
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is lobbying for an NFL team in London in the next decade, according to a report from Neil Reynolds of SkySports.com:
"I personally think we should have a franchise in London and that is something I am going to push for," Kraft said. "I think I said that the last time we were over here in 2009 and before this next decade is out, I hope we have a team here. I think that would be right for the NFL and this fan base has proven they deserve it.
Kraft said he believes the league has become as popular as it ever will be in the United States and that the next step, if the NFL wants to continue expanding its fan base, is to look overseas:
"I think we're starting to tap out in the United States. If you look at the last Super Bowl we were in this past season, we had over 180 million people watching - that's almost two thirds of America. So for us to grow the game, we have to expand globally. Having seen the kind of support we have received here in London, it is the intention of the NFL owners to get two games here, starting next year.
He said that while he can assure fans that his Patriots will never move to London, it's nice to know that the team is the "number one-supported team in the UK and have been for close to a decade." He also noted the reception the Pats received when they played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium in 2009, and that it should be an indication for the kind of support a team would receive if the league does, in fact, expand to London and across the globe.