The San Francisco 49ers subjected the Jacksonville Jaguars to an 8th straight defeat at London’s Wembley stadium in the latest NFL International Series game.
The 49ers were Super-Bowl runners-up last season and showed their class with six touchdowns to bring home a 42-10 victory, the49ers’5thin a row.
This won’t have gone down very well at all with the Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, who also owns London-based soccer club Fulham. The Jaguars are due to play four games in the UK’s capital over the next three years and you can bet Shahid Khan is keen to recruit new fans.
There has been something of a resurgence of interest in our sport in England over the last couple of years, but it never really seems to gain a toe-hold in the same way that soccer never really makes it into the mainstream here.
Perhaps gambling is the way into the European market? Gambling is completely legal, tax-free and seems to show no signs of slowing in the sports-mad UK. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that the ability to gamble on games before and during them is an absolute pre-requisite, these days, for any sport to gain the kind of television audience it really needs to make it commercially viable.
UK soccer is now the richest league in the world – and the most varied in terms of international players – and American Football may be looking to the UK as a natural route to the rest of Europe – if not the world. And gamblingis an essential part of that. The nation’s biggest book makers such as Ladbrokes and William Hill already offer multiple bets on big American Football games – but the level of gambling is absolutely miniscule compared to soccer.
This, of course, could change. William Hill, in particular, is always looking for new growth areas and has recently branched out into areas such as William Hill Bingo and has acquired bookmaking licences in many countries – most recently buying in the Australian market – so you can bet it would be a nicely symbiotic market for the big boys if our football was to take off over there.