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NFL expands London presence, will play games at Twickinham Stadium

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) prepares to run onto the field for the NFL football game between Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)


Even more American football games are heading to London.

The NFL has announced a partnership with the Rugby Football Union that will include at least three regular-season games at Twickenham Stadium in London, starting in October 2016. That will be the first London game played at a venue other than Wembley Stadium.

“We are committed to continuing to grow our sport in the UK and believe that adding Twickenham Stadium to our roster of host venues in London is further evidence of that commitment,” NFL executive vice president of international Mark Waller said in a statement. “We are very excited to give our fans the opportunity to enjoy NFL action at another world-class venue famous for attracting loyal and passionate fans from across the globe.”

American fans have given London games mixed reviews. Some enjoy the early-morning kickoffs and the potential for growth of America’s game, but many dislike taking home games away from teams and giving turning them into neutral-field games in London. But the NFL is doing everything it can to expand its London presence. Next season will feature at least two games at Wembley Stadium along with the one at Twickenham, and starting in 2018 the NFL will play at least two games a year at English soccer team Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium.

The NFL does not appear close to moving a franchise to London, but the NFL may soon play eight games a year in London. Whether American fans like it or not.