LONDON – or its chief powerbrokers, at any rate – loves NFL, and gridiron’s top brass appear to be pretty keen on the capital. No longer does it feel like a question of if the city gets its own franchise, but when.
There are still big hurdles to overcome, not least the logistic puzzle of transplanting eight regular-season games to Wembley without compromising the competitive integrity of the league.
Other questions loom. Would the team be based in London or merely hosted? The latter seems more likely. How will the NFL’s collective bargaining model sit with European law? That remains to be seen.
Tax is perhaps the most sensitive issue, and whether players would enjoy the kind of exemptions given to competitors at the 2012 Olympics.
Culture, media and sport secretary Sajid Javid stopped short of offering concessions, but said: “If there are tax issues we’d certainly look at them.”
At the same event yesterday, the NFL launched a report on its potential £100m annual contribution to the economy.
Amid the negotiations, this very public fluttering of eyelashes continues, and it is hard to see it ending in anything other than a warm embrace.