First of all, I’d like to apologize in advance if my dialect gets funky. Matter of factly … I was born French.
I bet there are no better ways of getting your credibility down as a “Bleacher Reporter”.
What I’d like to focus on is the tremendous issue about of Wembley’s games. I know I’m a bit off the context right now, but that will free your mind as playoffs get closer.
Indeed, I want to give you another point of view on this topic.
First thing, the Wembley’s games have been highly criticized by the Media and the fan base.
Indeed, why would you go play that far for people that know nothing about football? Uh, What is the point?
Oh well, some might say that the NFL needs to expend … That’s true, the NFL is a firm in danger, its profitability is getting down and people don’t trust its market value…
No, I doubt that. It’s just capitalism: companies can’t get enough. Football is a highly profitable market and they just want more.
Marketing wise, once you insured your stability on your local market you can think out of the box. NFL’s “great thinkers” must have thought: “Hey, why not selling our product in Europe? After all, it’s a developed continent that loves us. We saved them during World War II!”
So they tried to sell us the NFL Europe. The idea was good, the feedback were not!
Why it did not work? Because, nobody went to see the games. Did you actually watch reviews from the NFL Europe? The stadiums were half empty. I actually went to the WorldBowl once. I could go through the stadium as I wanted because it wasn’t even crowded. For the record, we’re talking about the former European SuperBowl.
So the executives decided to end the experiment. But, they still wanted to make even more money. So they thought that match-ups of high quality would drag more people into the stadiums. That’s how the Wembley’s experiment started.
They couldn’t have chosen a better location. The stadium is like a god damn symbol in Europe. Better still, they have chosen the closest country to the USA in terms of culture, language, habits, etc. Indeed, in France, we’re actually not pro-Americans.
Come on guys, you tried to prohibit our Roquefort and make the word “French” from “French fries” vanish, you totally deserve it!
What matters, today, is that it’s a great big success. As a reminder the stadium’s capacity is about 86 000 seats and the football games are always sold out. People were getting crazy: “Wtf, a pro Football game in England, this is too good man! I must be part of it”.
You can’t imagine how much those games are waited here. For us, it’s like going to your homeland. I’ll give you an example.
For me watching NFL games on Sundays means several things:
- Streaming videos on which you don’t see the ball on kickoff.
- Waiting until 2.30 am for the game to start, I usually take a nap between 11 pm and 2.30 pm.
- Wait until 5 a.m before going to bed to see the end of the game.
- Having your Mondays fucked up because recovering from “jet lag”.
- Being unable to speak Football to anyone because no one cares but you.
So, when a Football team comes in town we just go crazy, because we will be able to watch a game in front of us and it will be graved in our memory for life. On top of it all, that brings Football fans from Europe together, which is a hard thing to do.
We are not many and there is no secret club…
The NFL executives understood that quit well.
Did you see all the show before last game? Concert, fireworks, barbecue, posters, flames and everything. I heard you call that a tailgate and that it must be common for you.
But, It may have been better than a first sexual experiment for some sitting in the stadium. We are not used to that here.
So even if those games are highly and rightfully criticized: supporters who own season tickets get fooled, the home field advantage disappears and Jet lag can affect players.
You can’t argue that there is no added value for European supporters, we’re really looking forward to those games and hope the best is yet to come.
But don’t worry; one game per year is good enough. Every European football fan knows real football is in the US and European games are just venture.
I’m Clément Fauquet, French contributor.
Special thanks to Dylan.