NFL International Series

The Logistics of Overseas Games

13th October 2018

Efficient logistics planning and operations is about knowledge and preparation, ensuring there are already solutions to the unforeseeable circumstances that may occur during the process. As the NFL returns to the UK this week for its first game in the international series of the 2018/19 season I thought I would return to this article I wrote a few years ago to identify what is involved in playing an NFL game overseas. In the 2015/16 season the New York Jets left no stone upturned as described by Ben Shpigel in The New York Times:

Jets Head to London With a Detailed Game Plan, and That’s Just for Their Laundry: Ben Shpigel- The New York Times

Will the 11 months of planning for a team to spend about 65 hours overseas be the hindrance to fully support a UK NFL franchise?

At the moment the UK hosts three regular season NFL matches and like the previous year the 80,000 tickets per game at Wembley stadium have all sold out. With a partnership already established with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club it is clear there is interest and popularity to make this a more prosperous venture.

However is the popularity of the games only relevant to the fact that only a few games are played in the UK rather than 16 if a permanent team was based here. Thomas Barrabi expands on this in his article in the International Business Times:

NFL London Team: Obstacles Remain As League Mulls UK Invasion: Thomas Barrabi- International Business Times

Are teams also making allowances for the extensive logistical planning in attending overseas games as it is still considered more of a novelty to them? The success of the Jacksonville Jaguars increase in sponsorships as identified in Thomas Barrabi's article can justify the time and effort it takes to bring a team over to the UK. What is clear though is that the management of logistics operations to play international games that are on par with matches played back in the United States are having positive impacts to teams and the development of the NFL internationally. If a logistical framework can be set up that is sustainable and practical within the constraints of an NFL season then an international team would become more viable in the future.