The Cleveland Browns playing a game in England in the near future is coming ever closer to a reality. 92.3 The Fan’s Daryl Ruiter reports that the NFL’s recent announcement of a 10-year agreement with Tottenham Hotspur (that’s a soccer team) to play “a minimum of two games per year” at the team’s new stadium, which is slated to open in 2018. The agreement also will enable the league to play games at other UK locales in the 10-year span.
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In a statement, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, “With growing enthusiasm for the NFL in the United Kingdom, we are committed to hosting NFL games in world-class venues and are excited to partner with Tottenham Hotspur to play games at their future stadium. We share a vision and commitment to creating the best experience for our teams, fans and the local community.” The Browns have not played a game in London since the NFL began sending teams over in 2007. In total, 18 teams have played in the UK, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have an agreement in place to play one home game in London through 2016, an agreement likely to be extended.
The Browns won’t be giving up a home game in all likelihood. The Browns’ lease of FirstEnergy Stadium from the City of Cleveland states that, “for not less than 30 years, all regular season home games” must be played there. Though the league could override this by changing the Rules of the NFL that governs all 32 teams, Ruiter does not foresee this happening. But they will be playing at some point, now that the NFL has expanded their stadium access in England and their games played there to a guaranteed three per year. This year, all three games will be played at Wembley Stadium in London: the Miami Dolphins (home) vs. the New York Jets in Week 4, the Jaguars (home) vs. the Buffalo Bills in Week 7 and the Kansas City Chiefs (home) vs. the Detroit Lions in Week 8.