The Miami Dolphins’ meeting with the New York Giants at Wembley in October will be the first regular-season NFL game to be played outside North America, but almost certainly not the last, according to Wayne Huizenga, owner of the Miami team. Huizenga is visiting London with Cam Cameron, the new head coach, and Jason Taylor, the NFL defensive player of the year, before a game that could be the precursor to fixtures in the Far East and Latin America as well as Europe. “It is important to the League that we get this off to a good start,” he told the London Times. “There has already been discussion about playing an extra game [per team, per season] and that extra game would be played outside the US. In that case the UK might get three or four of those games.”
The NFL is already by far the most successful domestic sport in the US, so international expansion is the next logical step. “We want to have our brand be more globally recognized,” Huizenga said. “We are happy with what we have got, but we have a unique system in the way we and our players work together, where the players share every bit of the revenue we get. So if we build the pie, we have more TV, more media, more fans, the pie grows and the players grow.” If it is indeed good for business, then few would appreciate that as much as Huizenga, who built three Fortune 500 companies, including Blockbuster Video, and is the 153rd-richest man in the United States last year according to Forbes magazine.
“I think everybody sees the bigger picture, and we’re excited about it,” he said. “We are talking about going as far as China, India and Venezuela, but we have to see how this goes first. Do we bring the same teams back, or do we rotate it? And one day, do we have an NFL team here in London, as part of the NFL? “I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but you can let your mind wander. One day, could we be not the National Football League but the World Football League?”