It’s been the question on every NFL fan’s lips since the first London game in 2007 – when will the UK have its own franchise?

Now 15 years, 28 games and three stadiums later, we’re no closer to finding out. Hopes, however, remain high of the prospect.

The NFL International Series in London was originally billed as a 15-year project with the aim of having a fully established franchise based in the UK – most likely London – by 2022.

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Since the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins played under the Wembley arch for the first time to a sold out crowd in October 2007, the television coverage and fan interest in NFL has skyrocketed. Add to the mix the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and its purpose built NFL pitch and locker rooms, surely it’s just a matter of when, not if, a UK-based franchise becomes a reality?

“Everything we’re doing in the UK is making sure that it’s franchise ready,” says Jason Brisbane, NFL’s Head of Community and Grassroots Development in the UK. “Building the fan base, building the participation and having the media and sponsorship deals [in place].”

Jason added: “It’s creating that ideal environment so that if a team does want to relocate then they can slot right in and everything is pre-packaged for them. The team doesn’t have to do the work because we’ve done that already.”

The current COVID-19 pandemic may have paused any potential plans while teams play behind closed doors and international games remain difficult, but Jason, a VSI delegate on the MSc Sports Directorship programme and member of the GIS Industry Advisory Board, remains cautiously optimistic about the possibility of a UK-based NFL franchise.

He said: “It’s a billion-dollar question in terms of if we’ll get to that [a UK franchise], and obviously that’s up to the owners. All we can do in the UK is create that environment, make it attractive to an owner and if they want to push the button and come then it will be a ready for them.”