Now that the Rams have packed their bags for Los Angeles, NFL owners may have a new city to use as leverage when trying to secure new stadium deals: London.
As part of the NFL’s International Series, 14 NFL games have been played in London since 2007. In an interview with the BBC this week, Mark Waller, the NFL’s executive vice president of international, indicated that the series could become more permanent by 2022.
“I felt in 2007 it was always a 15 year journey,” Waller said. “I think we’re on track to deliver that.”
Right now, the league is contracted to play at least one game in London annually through 2020. Three games are slated for 2016.
A league spokesperson attempted to clarify things in a statement, disputing that any team would be moving without disputing Waller’s quotes.
"What Mark Waller said was that when the International Series began in 2007, he felt that in 15 years, if things proceeded successfully, ownership may be in a position to make a decision about having a permanent franchise in the UK," the statement read.
Waller said that he’s optimistic about London getting a team due to growth among the English fan base.
“The fan base is big enough and passionate enough that it can support a franchise,” Waller said.