London Listed As Co-Favorite To Receive NFL Franchise At +290 Odds

Updated: 329 Sport

The NFL's flirtation with international expansion could mean an overseas team in London.

London Listed As Co-Favorite To Receive NFL Franchise At +290 Odds

Silly git2000, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Michael Calabrese US Content Manager

Experienced sports journalist, College sports expert and broadcaster, hailing from Pennsylvania

  • London is currently the co-favorite to receive the next NFL franchise alongside Toronto at +290 odds.
  • Three of the top five candidates are international cities (London, Toronto, Mexico City).
  • Montreal is considered a long shot at +2000 odds.

The NFL aspires to be an international phenomenon. To achieve that goal they've brought their game overseas in recent years, testing the waters of international interest in American Football. Since 2007, London has hosted 33 NFL games. During those games more than 2.5 million supporters have entered through the turnstiles of Wembley, Twickenham, and Tottenham’s new stadium. And the NFL has even expanded their reach, tapping into the German market for the very first time in 2022. The game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks was a near sellout at Allianz Arena and 2.7 million viewers watched the game on Germany’s ProSieben channel. These gaudy attendance and TV figures have fueled speculation that the NFL is primed to launch a European franchise. Sportsbooks are now offering odds as to where the next NFL franchise will pop up. 

Next NFL Expansion City

Team Moneyline Probability
London +290 25.64%
Toronto +290 25.64%
San Antonio
+400 20%
St. Louis +400 20%
Mexico City +950 9.52%
Columbus
+2000 4.76%
Orlando +2000
4.76%
Omaha +2000
4.76%
Sacramento
+2000
4.76%
Portland +2000
4.76%
Norfolk +2000
4.76%
Montreal
+2000
4.76%
Salt Lake City +3000 3.23%
Memphis +3000 3.23%

Three of the top five locations are international spread between Toronto (+290) and Mexico City (+950) in North American and London (+290) in Europe. Montreal is also on the board as a long shot at +2000 odds. Montreal has historically been the commercial capital of Canada and has been home to two franchises in American professional sports. The Expos were a Major League Baseball franchise from 1969 to 2004 and the Montreal Canadiens were one of the Original Six in the National Hockey League. The metro area in Montreal is comprised of well over four million people, which would make it the 16th-largest market in the NFL should they receive a franchise. 

Toronto has long been rumored to be a target of NFL expansion and for good reason. The city is home to three current franchises in American sports (MLB, NBA, NHL) and has the largest Canadian population of any city at nearly nine million people in the metro area. The issue for Toronto is that attendance figures have been underwhelming in their Canadian Football League games. The Argonauts finished dead-last in attendance last season with less than 50% attendance at BMO Field. These same attendance concerns ended up halting the Buffalo Bills "Toronto Series," in which the NFL franchise played six games at the Rogers Centre from 2008 to 2013. Attendance fell every year, starting at 52,134 (97.4%) in 2008 and bottoming out at 38,969 (72.8%) in 2013. 

Mexico City remains an option for the NFL but they've had mixed results bringing the game south of the border. The NFL has scheduled five games in Mexico City since 2016, but air quality concerns and poor field conditions have taken the luster off of those matches. A game between the Rams and Chiefs in 2018 was cancelled due to poor field conditions and both air quality and altitude concerns have caused players and coaches to speak out against playing in the Mexican capital. 

London has continually produced strong attendance figures for NFL games and has a welcomed the Jaguars as a de facto home team. The Jacksonville franchise has played nine games in London since 2013. If the NFL were to relocate the Jags to London, it would likely necessitate a shift in the current divisional format in the AFC. If Miami moved to the AFC South and London joined the AFC East, travel concerns would be mitigated. Playing in a division with Buffalo, New York (Jets) and New England would make the most geographic sense. New York to London (7 hrs), would be on par with a few of the long travel times in the NFL, such as Boston to Los Angeles (6 hr 40 min) and Miami to Seattle (6 hr 50 min).

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