When the NFL announced plans to play three games in London in 2015 it set off a few shockwaves. For me though, the fact it was only three games, was rather shocking. I expected it to be at least four in 2015. I guess we’ll have to wait until 2016 for that.
In Kansas City, news spread quickly the Chiefs would host the Detroit Lions in Wembley Stadium next November. As part of the NFL’s International Series, the shield is attempting to broaden its brand outside of the United States.
NFL games in London are big winners, not only for the NFL, but also for the host team. Based on the fact every London game draws a sellout, teams such as the Chiefs, who will be the home team, will generate revenues in excess of two home games at Arrowhead Stadium.
Now that doesn’t make Chiefs fans happy but it should insure fans they won’t have to absorb increased ticket prices and parking costs for nine games at Arrowhead stadium instead of ten games in 2015.
The Chiefs had yet to make the trip overseas and it was inevitable it was going to happen at some point. Chiefs Founder, Clark Hunt, overseas the International Program for the NFL and it was always understood at some point Kansas City would host a game in London.
The NFL has saturated its brand in the United States, and as the most powerful sports enterprise in the world, the target ahead is conquering Europe. At some point in the next decade, the NFL will have a franchise in London – beyond that a Super Bowl.
But how does that help Chiefs fans today who seem to be taking this move a bit personnel. Well it’s pretty clear FL franchises are willing to sacrifice a home game to play one in London – to become a permanent part of the Super Bowl rotation that’s going to include one winter city every four years.
The Chiefs behind the scenes have been pushing hard to get into that winter rotation in 2020 and beyond. By coughing up a 2015 regular season game against the Detroit Lions, they are in that discussion again.
Now there is still some work to be done before the NFL will give the Chiefs the Winter Super Bowl they covet but everyone has to look at the big picture.
In short order, the St. Louis Rams will likely move west to California and take up shop in Los Angeles. That’s going to create a void in the state in regards to its overall NFL presence. That means Kansas City is likely going to benefit from the Rams departure in the tune of significant cash from the State of Missouri to upgrade Arrowhead Stadium even further (without taxpayer money) that might include perhaps a second tower and a retractable roof that could cover both Arrowhead and possibly Kauffman Stadium.
That means not only the potential for Super Bowls at Arrowhead but a Final Four as well. If the state of the Missouri doesn’t cough up the money, they are in fear of losing the Chiefs to Kansas City, Kansas at some point. You laugh at the thought but it’s not as remote as you think.
The Royals probably would not head to Kansas but they could ultimately move to a downtown location now that they have tasted a World Series.
Still I see why the fans are upset but honestly look at this way. It’s one less game you have to pay for in regards to tickets sales, merchandise, parking, babysitters tailgating food and premium drinks. It allows you to begin the month of November nestled in your home early Sunday morning to watch a quadruple set of games from sun up to midnight.
In return, all you have to do is give up a singular home game in 2015 for the chance to attract a premier sporting event or two at Arrowhead in the future. It also will help in the long-term in keeping the team on the Missouri side of the state line.
The NFL is a business, and the Chiefs like every other team that wears the shield, understand that profits rule the landscape of professional football. When we signed up to be Chiefs fans we did it because we love our team – not for the fact only 78,000 can see them live in person for ten days per year.
For me, I could care less about the loss of one home game, because I’ve never been to London and I’m going to do what it takes to see my Chiefs play in a city I’ve always dreamed about visiting. Now I have an excuse to make that happen.
Still that doesn’t appease Chiefs fans who feel betrayed. I get that but in the overall scheme of things – the only item of extreme importance about this game is the Chiefs defeat the Lions.
Everything else is really much a do about nothing any Chiefs fan can do about the situation. So we might as well just enjoy the home game from London and enjoy our off day from Arrowhead.