The NFL London Games 2019 is now in full swing with Wembley Stadium gearing up to host two matches in a week.

Defending NFL champions, the Los Angeles Rams, face Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday before Houston Texans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, who return for their seventh game in the capital, on 3rd November.

The first two games of the 2019 series took place at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium earlier this month, with the first purpose-built NFL stadium outside of the US hosting the Oakland Raiders and Chicago Bears on Sunday 6th October followed by The Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers a week later.

We spoke with Witek Adamski, a BA (Hons) Football Business & Finance student at UCFB Wembley, who was working at the first two matches on a placement, to find out about the NFL London experience…

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. Can you tell us how you got involved with the NFL UK games and what your job role entailed?

Thank you for having me. Being part of the NFL London Games is one great experience. I consider myself lucky as there has been massive interest among UCFB Students to be part of it.  

In early September, there were two announcements of UCFB and NFL collaborations and they were promoted through the UCFB Twitter account and on www.ucfb.jobteaser.com. At that time, I had just come back from the RFL Coral Cup Final and SportsPro Fan Conference collaborations organised by UCFB and thought I could offer my time, energy, passion and previous experience to help host the NFL events. It was difficult to describe my joy when I received positive feedback from the NFL.

I have been engaged with the first two games at Tottenham's new stadium, and I am now waiting for two Wembley Games. I work for the ‘Fans First’ programme which has been developed by the NFL. My role is to coordinate and liaise with frontline staff who are responsible for creating lifetime memories for fans.

What was the experience of an NFL game in the UK like, was it different to what you expected?

Frankly speaking, I was quite nervous before the event. Firstly, I did not want to let the UCFB team down. I know how much effort has gone into creating this type of collaboration with top industry leaders and I know that my performance and my input will reflect future collaboration between UCFB and the NFL. I represent UCFB and future students of our organisation. So, there were one or two sleepless nights!

Regarding my experience of NFL in the UK, I have always been interested in marketing collaborations in sports – and nobody does it better than Americans. I have been digitally following NBA, MLB and NFL – so when the opportunity came, I was all in.

My previous experience was based only on digital coverage and digital engagement. I loved the experience from the moment I got off at Tottenham Hale train station (I commuted from Stansted). As a regular fan, you can follow the signage and it leads you all the way to the stadium. Visual communication is clear and there is staff that either help you or engages with you on your way to the stadium.

As a student of Finance who is deeply rooted in marketing, you see it as a customer journey masterpiece and ask yourself: “How much does it cost?”, “What are the fixed and variable costs”, “What is the contribution on every pint?”, and "How will this event engage fans and organisations, and how will it contribute to fans’ spending?”

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is the first purpose-built NFL stadium outside of the US, can you tell us a bit about the differences you found in atmosphere and set-up compared to a football match in the UK?

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is a masterpiece. You can clearly see and experience that. It is designed to earn money, keep fans there and it is a fantastic sportscape?

Tottenham has created a money-making asset. You sense it on a non-match day, but it is game day when you see the stadium at its best.

‘Curiosity killed the cat’ they say, so I decided to feel the atmosphere of the game and visited the NFL official store before my shift started. It has a great variety of products, top quality and innovative solutions to serve large numbers of fans.

It's also a cashless stadium which means the customers are served faster and more efficiently.

Taking into consideration Tottenham's standards of service, pace and quality, I do not know anyone who says they did not like it. The NFL and Tottenham definitely provide consistency and create positive momentum.

It all builds the atmosphere of joy, fun, positive anxiety and anticipation of a great show! And the NFL really knows how to deliver it.

You’re currently studying Football Business & Finance at UCFB, what do you think you can take away from your work placement into your education?

It is a great question. Let me provide a context. I love marketing and I study finance as a tool to become a better marketer.  Personally, I have been able to compare the theoretical concepts with real events. And it really works. To me, all the operations, the theory behind the customer journey and sportscape – it is all in the books and it is relevant to NFL events.

Secondly, you see how many people work behind the scenes. You talk to them and they are so passionate about their jobs. Top professionals with great knowledge and even more experience.

It makes you realise what professional and personal skills you need to develop to be there in the world of top professional sport. At times, I have the impression it is more about your mentality than your skills.

The NFL Games have been a boost for me to aim higher in my education and become a better human being.

UCFB have recently announced study hubs and Global Sports Summits across North America and Australia, how do you feel events like those and the migration of NFL to our shores can benefit our students and graduates?

Personally, I loved the announcement and the way it has been spread to the world! Moreover, North America and Australia do sports and sports marketing on a different level. I think England is the best in Europe. Yet, marketing wise, the US franchise league model based on shared revenue, determines more fan engagement. Americans are known for great stadium designs and fantastic sponsorship exposition. Quality stadiums encourage fans to participate in the game and hence it is easier for the club to monetise their B2B collaborations. Therefore, I believe UCFB students can benefit significantly from the Global Sports Summits. We can search for possibilities and solutions tested in a very competitive American market. Later, we may tailor them and implement them to local needs.

Do you think there’s enough interest in NFL in the UK for there to be a franchise here in future?

I believe there is massive interest not only in NFL but in all American franchises. It is no coincidence that London has hosted MLB games too. On top of that, NFL still has a 9-year contract to host games at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Are people interested? When providing my service around the stadium, I spoke to people, engaged with them and saw that they come from different parts of the UK. Moreover, you can hear different languages and various flags waving in the air. There are people from Asia, Australia and continental Europe.