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Thread: Passport expires: NFL Europa folds after 16 years

  1. #1
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    Arrow Passport expires: NFL Europa folds after 16 years

    FRANKFURT, Germany -- The NFL folded its development league in Europe after 16 years on Friday, calling the decision a sound business move that will allow for a stronger international focus on regular-season games outside the United States.

    The announcement came less than a week after the Hamburg Sea Devils beat the Frankfurt Galaxy 37-28 in the World Bowl title game in Frankfurt before a crowd of 48,125. Five of the league's six teams are based in Germany, with the other in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

    A statement on the German-language edition of the NFL's Web site said the NFL decided to concentrate its "strategies and resources" on regular-season games outside the United States in an effort to reach as many people as possible.

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell thanked the fans for their support but said it was time to develop a new international strategy, terming the move to fold NFL Europa the ``best business decision.'' The league reportedly was losing about $30 million a season.

    "From now on we will focus on regular-season games and use new technologies to make NFL more popular worldwide," he said.

    NFL team owners decided in October to play up to two regular-season games outside the United States. The first such game is Oct. 28 in London between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants.

    The league said it is looking toward other regular-season games in Germany, Mexico and Canada, with Germany a strong candidate for 2008.

    "NFL Europa has created thousands of passionate fans who have supported that league and our sport for many years," said Mark Waller, senior vice president of NFL International. "And we look forward to building on this foundation as we begin this new phase of our international development."

    The league began in 1991 as the World League of American Football, with 10 teams from the United States and Europe, spreading from Scotland to Spain. After closing for two seasons in 1993 and 1994, the league returned with six European teams and retained the same format until the end.

    The league was used by NFL teams to test young talent and produced players such as quarterback Kurt Warner, who led the St. Louis Rams to the 2000 Super Bowl championship and won two NFL Most Valuable Player awards; Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme; and star Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri.

    NFL Europa managing director Uwe Bergheim said the league had succeeded in establishing a fan base for football in important European markets.

    "Despite the great support of fans, business partners and the cities where we were active, we decided that it was time to change the strategy," Bergheim said.

    [ESPN]

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    I cant say I blame them for this...I doubt anyone watched the games. I mean ive watched some of their games but from the looks if it there were maybe 5,000 people in the stadium if they were lucky...I dont see how they broke even really.
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    Default Re: Passport expires: NFL Europa folds after 16 years

    Cricket, cricket...

    “WE NEVER SURRENDER, WE NEVER GIVE UP, WE KEEP ATTACKING”- Frank Vogel
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Passport expires: NFL Europa folds after 16 years

    I use to watch NFL-Europe games all the time until the games switched over to cable for a brief time a few years ago. When the games returned to national TV (Fox), I tried to get back into it, but it just didn't have the same appeal. Part of it was the fact that the league never grew. It was always the same short list of teams with more American players than foreigners. Of course, once I realized it was now NFL-Europe instead of the World Football League it just made sense that NFL-wanna-bees and throwbacks would go to what affectionately became the NFL's minor league. I think that hurt more than it helped.

    I think Euro-league football (not rugby, not soccer, but real football) could have worked even if the NFL pulled out had more teams gotten into the mix. The NFL still could have implemented their new "international" marketing and played games abroad. Just sell the league to foreign investers (or US investers willing to keep the league in Europe), expand it and keep it over there. Of course, you'd be talking about the NFL infringing on Euro/World League's territory by playing NFL games abroad, but I'm sure something could have been worked out considering we'd only be talking about 1 game per week.

    The sad part about the breakup is unlike w/the USFL and the WFL, I doubt that former Euro-League football players will have an avenue to turn to in an effort to further their football careers other than the NFL. That would mean players coming over the great pond, and with so many college players trying to break into the pros, I doubt we'd see very many foreign players make the leap.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Passport expires: NFL Europa folds after 16 years

    I think playing the regular season games overseas without the NFL Europe games doesn't make all that much sense in the grand scheme of things.

    The random regular season game would build interest for the NFL Europe games. The NFL Europe games would serve as a way to maintain and build that interest between regular season NFL games each year.

    That said, I don't think the NFL should play ANY regular season games outside of their home markets. No team should lose a home game to do this. I don't give a crap about preseason games. Play those on the moon for all I care, but the regular season should belong to the fans on their teams respective seasons first, last, and always.

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