After years of success with its games in London, the NFL might be considering taking its overseas relationship with the city one step further.
Interest is picking up with the league, the Los Angeles Chargers and the rest of the NFL’s team owners in a possible move by the team to London, according to a report from The Athletic’s Vincent Bonsignore:
The Athletic has learned through NFL sources that the possibility of the Chargers moving to London has been broached among league personnel. The Athletic also has learned that, while the team is fully committed to Los Angeles where it will move into the new $4.5 billion stadium with the Rams next year, the Chargers would at least listen if the NFL approached them about about London as a possible option.
Finally, The Athletic has learned that NFL owners are concerned enough about the Chargers’ situation in L.A., where a crowded sports market and the presence of the more established Rams has resulted in a tepid embracement [sic] of the Chargers, that they would provide the necessary support for a relocation to London if the Chargers pursue it.
In summary, it appears there are few figures with control over the Chargers’ location who would say no to a hypothetical move to London.
Would the Chargers really move to London?
Such a move would be years away, but it’s hard to blame the NFL for considering such a drastic move. The Chargers’ migration from San Diego to Los Angeles has been an embarrassment for the league, as opposing fans repeatedly take over Dignity Health Sports Park, the 27,000-capacity soccer stadium the Chargers are using as a temporary home.
The Chargers are scheduled to move into the Inglewood stadium with the Rams next season, but it’s clear the team is in danger of becoming the second banana in a city that might not have enough room for two NFL teams.
A move to London would give the Chargers sole possession of an even bigger market, with the whole of the United Kingdom possibly rooting for them. The Athletic also mentions the state-of-the-art, 62,000-capacity Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as the likely venue for the team.
However, there would still be plenty of logistics to figure out — pitching players on working across the Atlantic, a possible divisional realignment, scheduling issues stemming from travel and time zones, figuring out where the team would practice — and some drawbacks would be unavoidable. All the money in the world isn’t going to cure players of jet lag heading into games.
The Chargers took a massive risk when they left San Diego, and it doesn’t seem to be working out. The risks of a move to London would be even bigger.
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