Mike Florio, the editor of NBC’s popular “Pro Football Talk” website, wonders if the NFL will be able to keep playing games in England after the UK voted to leave the European Union.
“For the NFL, the bigger question becomes the viability of the British experiment beyond 2016,” writes Florio. “With Prime Minister David Cameron already resigning, major changes seem to be coming to United Kingdom. At some point, those changes could make the league’s ongoing relationship with the nation not viable.”
Why would Great Britain leaving the EU make them less attractive to the NFL? It’s not like the country exists now under martial law after a military coup. They are just becoming a fully sovereign nation, something they have been for most of their history.
“Everyone is trying make sense of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union,” wrote Florio on Friday. “That includes the NFL.”
It made sense to the 52 percent of the British electorate who voted to leave the EU. They are clearly tired of being told what to do by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.
“Britain will regain its political freedom, its autonomous self-government, and its independence from an EU that is spinning out of control under the power of establishment elites, unelected and unaccountable socialist bureaucrats, and a judicial court that is increasingly making legal decisions that replace Britain’s powerful common law,” noted economics writer Larry Kudlow.
Many commenters to Florio’s blog were perplexed by his logic.
“Why would a Brexit have any bearing on a fans desire to attend a sporting event? Do NFL fans in the UK base their decision to whether to attend a game on their countries decision to exit the EU?” – Itrafinesse
“Nothing’s changing. Just typical hand-wringing and chicken-little fretting. The world won’t end just because some Brits found the backbone to stand up to elitist lawyers.” – Countmahdrof
“It’s a stretch. This is Progressive Football Talk suggesting the NFL should punish the UK for not voting ‘properly’.” – RollTide510
Florio reached out to the NFL for comment.
“We are monitoring and have been in contact with our UK office,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT by email. “We head into the 2016 season in strong shape with the 3 UK games already nearing sell outs again — a testament to the strong and passionate fan base there — and all key media, sponsorship and licensing partnerships locked in.”
The word “monitor” might bother some Brits, but the NFL is playing a game in Mexico this season, and surely they are “monitoring” that country as well. They are probably monitoring Baltimore. They are a multi-billion dollar corporation. They do a lot of monitoring.
And the chances of the NFL eschewing England remains a longshot. Not only will the NFL play three games there this year, but the league mulls putting a team in London permanently. England overflows with NFL fans, and they aren’t leaving the planet — just the overreach of the EU.