FanDuel - WFBC

June 29, 2007

NFL folds Europe league, to focus on regular-season games abroad: The NFL folded its development league in Europe after 16 years on Friday, calling the decision a sound business move that will allow for a stronger international focus on regular-season games outside the United States.

posted by STUNNER to football at 11:34 AM - 35 comments

"Despite the great support of fans, business partners and the cities where we were active, we decided it was time to change the strategy." -Uwe Bergheim, NFL Europa managing director Yeah, he sounds thrilled with the idea.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:45 AM on June 29

I hope they decide to do a developmental league stateside. It seems like it would be a more profitable venture if you were not required to drum up interest in the sport while trying to gather fans.

posted by bperk at 11:55 AM on June 29

I guess i'm skeptical of the said motive for this decision. It seems to me that it is highly unlikely we'll ever see more than a couple regular season games overseas. $$$ issues are involved somewhere here. I don't see most owners going for their teams playing several games away from home. There would have to be major revenue losses for them, at least at first.

posted by brainofdtrain at 11:55 AM on June 29

According to the National Financial League, NFL Europa was losing about $30 million a year, which would definitely indicate that there were $$$ issues. They need those bucks for the Super Bowl halftime.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:59 AM on June 29

Wow, $30 Million a year for Sixteen years? Better than the A- Rod contract.

posted by STUNNER at 12:19 PM on June 29

More regular season games abroad? Think season ticket-holders are going to be happy about a home game being held in, say, Tokyo, instead of their home stadium? Sure, I could throw a tailgate party from the back of my private jet

posted by NerfballPro at 12:45 PM on June 29

So, their European league folds, so the logic is to put NFL regular seasons overseas? That logic is flawless.

posted by insomnyuk at 12:51 PM on June 29

I second bperk's motion for a 'stateside development league. Unless there are some bodacious financial guarantees and scheduling concessions for the teams involved, the owners, and especially the coaches, aren't going to be too thrilled about overseas competition. I just can't see being forced to lose a home game to Tokyo and also being forced to play on either the week before or the week after such a trek. If there are scheduling adjustments to be made, how much will that prolong the season? Nerfball Pro, if I bring the sushi, can I come to your tailgate party?

posted by Howard_T at 03:06 PM on June 29

As an avid football fan, I must say I have never bothered to watch a single game from NFL Europe. A developmental league here would be great for some of the smaller cities who have no team to cheer for now (I live in Raleigh). I don't know if it could survive, but I'd love to see them try. I'm always amazed by how a country like England with less than 1/5th the population of the US can carry 4 or 5 professional soccer leagues. It's a shame we don't have that much passion for our sport here.

posted by Ricardo at 03:25 PM on June 29

I used to be a huge NFL fan but I just lost so much interest. I am sick of sports with so many commercials in them, especially when football is now shaped around the bloody things. And the whole "We're World Champions" shit pisses me off too. Only in America would someone who only competes with people within that country call themselves world champions. The absolute arrogance. The World Series is another great one. "World Champions" they say. (And no, the World Series was NOT named after a newspaper. That's an urban legend.) What I find funny is the usual counter argument to this is "Well we are world champions. If other countries fielded teams, we'd beat them." That argument kinda fell flat on it's face during the world baseball classic last year where the US failed miserably. As for the NFL folding their European league, my guess is nobody giving a crap about it was probably a big factor, but they're hardly likely to say that, are they.

posted by Drood at 03:51 PM on June 29

That argument kinda fell flat on it's face during the world baseball classic last year where the US failed miserably. I don't think that proves much. It was the first time around for the event and it wasn't a big deal yet. If you don't think the champ of the MLB is the best baseball team in the world, who is?

posted by rcade at 04:05 PM on June 29

The NFL Europa (and its predecessors) rose from the ashes of a stateside development league. It was the World League of American Football. Appropriately enough, it was the W-LAF. (That's W-laugh for the non-English as a first language crew, and I applaud you, because I do not have a second language.) I was in Chapel Hill, NC, when the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks existed for an entire year before moving to Columbus and becoming the Ohio Glory. The Glory, of course, preceded the Columbus Bluejackets or being decorated like a team sponsored by the US Postal Service.

posted by BlueCarp at 04:12 PM on June 29

The NFL already has a developmental that creates huge fan interest, doesn't cost them a dime, and uses its profits to support other amateur sports; it's called College Football. For all the things that are wrong with college football, it really is a sweet deal for the NFL and makes possible the level of coaching we see in non-revenue college sports.

posted by gradioc at 05:19 PM on June 29

There is also the CFL which isn't perfect (wide open field leads to receivers to running sloppy routes) but it doesn't cost the NFL anything. It also keeps suspended pot smoking running backs in shape and with teams in the prairies prepares players for games in Green Bay and Buffalo in December. A couple of years ago when the Saskatchewan Roughriders were in deep financial trouble, the NFL actually bought a huge block of season tickets and them gave them back the team to sell again.

posted by jc at 05:43 PM on June 29

Drood, you sound like an anti American from Europe who hates American style football. As for your statement about the "World Series," perhaps you should stop envying the US so much. If you'd block out that anger, you'd realize that the best players from around the world leave (or defect) to play in the United States. Only the best play in the MLB. Your baseball classic argument doesn't hold strong either, because no one cares about that exhibition tournament. The World Series champions did not play other championship teams. Breath my friend, and you'll be able to think straight. The United States is not your enemy, no matter how much TV you watch.... As for NFL Europe, it is a shame that it shut down. I think that was a horrible choice, since there will be so little in the ways of promoting the sport in Europe. I'll bet that one day something similar will start up again. The market is there.

posted by schultz at 05:55 PM on June 29

Drood, you sound like an anti American from Europe who hates American style football. As for your statement about the "World Series," perhaps you should stop envying the US so much. If you'd block out that anger, you'd realize that the best players from around the world leave (or defect) to play in the United States. Only the best play in the MLB. Your baseball classic argument doesn't hold strong either, because no one cares about that exibition tournament Breath my friend, and you'll be able to think straight. The United States is not your enemy, no matter how much TV you watch.... Actually, he's from Canada, the nation above the U.S.A., both countries being in North America. I care about ''that exibition tournament'' as you call it. As far as whether or not the United States is or isn't his enemy, how would you know?

posted by tommytrump at 06:10 PM on June 29

Cue "How dare you call yourselves 'America' when you're not the only country in the Americas" argument in 3, 2, 1...

posted by Rock Steady at 08:01 PM on June 29

Awesome, jingoism on Sportsfilter. Bang up job, Schultzie.

posted by igottheblues at 08:28 PM on June 29

More regular season games abroad? Think season ticket-holders are going to be happy about a home game being held in, say, Tokyo, instead of their home stadium? Nerfball - The NFL hopes to institute a 17th game in its regular season schedule, and that game would be played abroad.

posted by spira at 09:02 PM on June 29

Jingoism or whatever, Schultzie has got the right idea. The hatred toward American football (US for tommytrump who thinks the US is the enemy) is just silly. It's a shame NFL Europe was shut down. I'd like to see the NFL go global.

posted by Bradshaw at 09:32 PM on June 29

The hatred toward American football (US for tommytrump who thinks the US is the enemy) is just silly. Where did I say the United States is the enemy? I'll eat a yard of your shit if you can show me where I said the United States is the enemy. I happen to really enjoy gridiron football, both the Canadian and the American versions. What I don't enjoy is overaggressive misplaced jingoism disguised as patriotism. By the way, Canada beat the U.S.A. in that exibition baseball tournament.

posted by tommytrump at 09:44 PM on June 29

Hooray, American jingoism. "You don't like American sports? Waddaya, some kind of commie? Ya either with us or ya with the terrrrists, pal!" Seriously, arguing that we should call our pro champions, world champions, because we have the best baseball/gridiron/basketball club teams in the world is really, really inane, and shows a complete lack of understanding about what a world championship really is. For many decades in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, the English football (soccer) club champions were literally the best in the world at that sport, but no one in England was silly enough to claim that their championships were world championships. You can duplicate this example endlessly across other countries and other sports. Only America confuses itself with the world. Now, as for the end of NFL Europa, good riddance. Who in Europe really wanted a foreign sports league in a sport most people over there had no interest in, imposing a "development" league on them? If Europeans want to play gridiron on their own they are free to do so, and some of them do. They don't need the NFL.

posted by dave2007 at 09:53 PM on June 29

Where do Americans who despise the NFL fit into? I would rather get a broken glass enema that watch a pro football game of any kind (NFL, CFL, AFL, XFL) does that nake me less of an American?

posted by HATER 187 at 12:59 AM on June 30

The West Coast Eagles are the current AFL champions. But they don't call themselves World Champions at Australian Rules Football. Well, not until after a few beers, anyway. /Slightly relevant comparison.

posted by owlhouse at 08:15 AM on June 30

If Europeans want to play gridiron on their own they are free to do so, and some of them do. They don't need the NFL. That's very true. You can compare it to basketball in Europe, which seems to be growing in popularity every year. The Euroleague and the ULEB Cup are both thriving with good competition, live TV coverage and full arenas. As far as I know, the NBA has never been involved in its development.

posted by afx237vi at 08:45 AM on June 30

Seriously, arguing that we should call our pro champions, world champions, because we have the best baseball/gridiron/basketball club teams in the world is really, really inane But hold up: if the NFL season winner isn't the world champion (American) football team, who is? I take the general point, but let's not start applying our mouths, of our own volition, to each other's multi-cultural gender-neutral genitalia just yet.

posted by yerfatma at 09:01 AM on June 30

Fort William, shinty world champions! This is a fun lie to tell!

posted by Abiezer at 12:25 PM on June 30

It is about time for NFL Europe to fold. Honestly, how can you really call it "NFL Europe" when lately it has only been "NFL Germany plus one".

posted by urall cloolis at 01:19 PM on June 30

Where did all these silly other countries come from? And yerfatma, I was with you til the part about the gender-neutral genitalia. Then Mongo just get confused.

posted by THX-1138 at 03:42 PM on June 30

I think the whole NFL abroad idea is stupid; it would remove the feel of home field advantage, games that could impact the playoff picture end up being played in Tokyo? Not to mention the extra exposure to whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Can you imagine Peyton Manning stuck in transition with Tb; with the playoffs starting. Better yet, the Patriots entire squad quarantined with some new flu virus.

posted by fourthreeforty at 06:02 PM on June 30

Can you imagine Peyton Manning stuck in transition with Tb; with the playoffs starting. Better yet, the Patriots entire squad quarantined with some new flu virus. Don't be flippin' ridiculous. It's 2007... most people are capable of travelling abroad without picking up fatal diseases.

posted by afx237vi at 06:21 PM on June 30

Amazing! A simple conversation about football turns into a display of international ignorance. The rest of the world is not some disease trodden hell hole. I think that is New Jersey (and this is a joke, I love new jersey, just picking on a stereotype and can't use Cleveland as I live there). I will miss the NFL Europa, now where will we develop our cheerleader routines!

posted by deafoh at 07:49 PM on June 30

There was just an incident involving tb. (Leaving Tokyo I believe) It's so far fetched.

posted by fourthreeforty at 10:39 PM on June 30

The game belongs in the U.S., plain and simple. Why mess with the current product? Games throughout the entire league are selling out, the league is making tons and tons of cash, and this is just a lame way of trying to suck up more money. The NFL doesn't need it. As for development leagues, NFL Europe, whatever, who need them? The NFL generally gets the best talent there is. The Canadian league, as far as I know, is still doing OK. Not that long ago those were the only two offerings there was. What's the deal? Does the game owe playing jobs to every player who has ever competed in college football?

posted by dyams at 08:23 AM on July 01

When the World Series first started, they wouldn't let "common" or workingman teams in, and most teams south or west of Ohio in the US. It wasn't until the expansion in the 40's that the "World" series was even nationwide in the US. Abner Doubleday didn't invent the sport either. Extreme Fighting isn't really that extreme. It's all marketing BS, and if you think it makes some greater point about America as a whole, you need a proctologist to find your head.

posted by LostInDaJungle at 09:47 AM on July 02

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