National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell wants to see league teams established in both Los Angeles and London, as long as the process was conducted in “the right way,” he said on Saturday.
Speaking at a forum for European NFL fans in London ahead of Sunday’s game in the English capital between the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers, Goodell was asked which city he would prefer gain a league franchise first.
“It doesn’t matter,” Goodell replied. “I’d love to be back in Los Angeles. But it has to be done the right way, we have to do it successfully. I want both (cities to have teams), but it doesn’t matter which one is first.”
The NFL has not had a team in Los Angeles, the second largest media market in the United States, since the Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995.
However, the league has been making a concerted push to grow its international fan base, and next year it will be staging three regular-season games in London.
Once Sunday’s game between the Jaguars and 49ers is over, London will have hosted two games in a single season for the first time. Last month the Minnesota Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27 at Wembley Stadium.
The NFL first played a regular season game at Wembley in 2007 and the annual fixture has attracted near-sellout crowds with an average attendance of more than 80,000.