England could be set to take their matches on tour around the country again, if Wembley gets an NFL team. 

The Football Association is keen to boost revenue, after experiencing a decline in attendances.

The national team’s recent friendly against Norway drew a crowd of 40,181 at Wembley.

The previous lowest crowd for an international at the new stadium was the 48,876 for a friendly against Sweden in 2011.

The NFL has expressed a desire to  base a team in London by 2021 and has attracted sell-out crowds at Wembley.

The first of three NFL games held at Wembley in 2014 as part of the International Series – Miami Dolphins’ 38-14 win over the Oakland Raiders – was played in front of 83,436 fans.

The other two games – Atlanta Falcons v Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars v Dallas Cowboys – have also sold out.

NFL UK managing director Alistair Kirkwood told BBC Radio 5 Live: “We’re very interested in exploring the idea of a British-based franchise and seeing if we can pull it off.

“Fan growth has grown considerably in recent years. But we’ve seen in all forms of sport, having something that’s considered national really transforms your potential popularity.”

He added: “It’s not just about the logistics of where a team might come from or whether it would be a new team, it’s also scheduling, air travel, a tonne of other logistics.

“If we were to finish it off, it would be a big project realised.”

The Football Association is obliged to hold matches at Wembley until 2017 but England played at grounds including Old Trafford, Villa Park, Stadium of Light, St James’ Park and St Mary’s before the new national stadium opened in 2007.

Club England chief executive Adrian Bevington suggested on Twitter last month that it could be up to eight or nine years before the cost of rebuilding Wembley is recouped, which may allow England to tour the country again.

‘Wembley has to be paid for,’ he wrote. ‘The reality is that the FA has to put [an] events calendar on to do this.

‘When [we are] debt free in 8/9 years, [we will have] more choice.’

Macesport is the retained sports PR agency for the NFL in the UK.


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