The NFL today announced the four games that will take place in London next season, the first time the league will play four games – half of a home schedule of regular-season games – in the UK capital.
The London schedule will feature consecutive games in Weeks 3 and 4 at Wembley Stadium – the home of English soccer – and Weeks 7 and 8 at Twickenham Stadium, the home of English rugby. The game times and dates will be finalized in conjunction with the revealing of the full 2017 NFL schedule next spring.
Three teams will play their first regular-season games in London in 2017 – the Arizona Cardinals, the visiting team against their NFC West rivals, the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham in Week 7 or 8; the Baltimore Ravens, the visiting team against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley in Week 3 or 4; and the Cleveland Browns, the home team against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7 or 8 at Twickenham.
The Miami Dolphins will play their fourth regular-season game in London, this time against the New Orleans Saints, who make their second appearance in a regular-season game in the UK. The Jaguars will play a home game in London for the fifth consecutive season.
At the conclusion of the 2017 season, 26 teams will have played in London since the inception of the London Games Series in 2007. Since that time, the NFL has achieved accelerated growth in the UK. Sunday viewership of NFL games has more than doubled and the Super Bowl audience has increased more than 75 percent. This season, the NFL is on pace to reach a record number of unique TV viewers in the UK. The league also has developed new and stronger business partnerships and, according to internal research, has a UK fan base of more than 13 million, including close to four million avid fans.
Participation in amateur football in the UK has risen by approximately 15 percent per year since 2007, with the latest figures from Sport England showing that 40,000 people age 14 or older play regularly. American football is now an officially recognized sport in UK universities and schools.