London Mayor in talks with NFL over Olympic Stadium

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 01 2012 09:11 AM | Updated as of Nov 01 2012 05:11 PM

LONDON - NFL chiefs have held talks with London Mayor Boris Johnson over the possibility of staging matches at the Olympic Stadium.

Last weekend Wembley hosted the NFL's International Series game for the sixth consecutive year as the New England Patriots thrashed the St Louis Rams, but the league has already agreed to double the number of matches held in England from next year.

Wembley has an exclusive deal to host the International Series games until 2016 and Johnson, who is chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation responsible for deciding how the Olympic Stadium will be used in the future, wants to see if there is a role for the east London venue in the NFL's plans.

A spokesman for the Mayor said in a statement: "Sunday's game at Wembley, in front of over 80,000 fans, further cements London's reputation as the natural home of American Football outside of the United States.

"Only last week the Mayor in conjunction with the NFL, announced an expansion from one to two regular season matches in London from 2013. That means in total an additional £44 million in revenue for the capital from next year.

"Given the ever growing popularity of Gridiron on this side of the Atlantic the Mayor and his team have held a number of meetings with senior executives in the last few days to explore further opportunities involving the NFL and London.

"The talks were exploratory, we are at an early stage, but the signs are encouraging."

In October 2013, the Jacksonville Jaguars will begin a one game a season residency at Wembley when they host the San Francisco 49ers and just a month earlier the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Minnesota Vikings.

Premier League club West Ham United are one of those interested in moving into the Olympic Stadium, which will retain a running track, on a permanent basis and a decision is expected on the venue's future in December.

© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse