On the Pulse: Should London have an NFL team?

Fireworks, lasers and cheerleaders are some of the things audiences can expect when the NFL brings some USA sprit to London this weekend.

The Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions will lock horns at Wembley Stadium on Sunday as part of the NFL International Series, which has been hosting exhibition matches in London since 2007.

Earlier this week, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the UK government would back plans to have an NFL team based here in the capital.

But what do Londoners really think of American football? Is it a welcome addition to the city’s array of sports or just a showbiz bonanza best left across the pond?

SWLondoner hit the streets to find out your views.

Is it a good idea to have an NFL team based in London?

YES                                                                             NO
60%                                                                              40%

The positives of bringing more diversity to London’s sporting life and drawing in crowds just about outweighed the confusion of many who didn’t understand American football.

Jake Finlayson, 23, a law student from Wimbledon, said having an NFL team in the capital was a good idea, even though he’d grown up with more traditional British sports.

He said: “It’s something people enjoy seeing. It’s more of a show than football and rugby with all the cheerleaders. It’s good for London to get as many sports as possible.”

James Curtis, 25, who works in manufacturing and is from Ealing, said: “Why not? If I got offered a ticket I’d go to a match.”

Others thought that the sport was best left to our American friends.

Simon Price, 35, who works in marketing and is from Bromley, used to watch the NFL but is no longer a fan.

He said: “I don’t think it’s a good spectator sport. It’s all a bit stop-start.”

Alfred Clarke, 54, from Acton and works for the National Autistic Society, said: “It doesn’t make much difference to me. I don’t even understand it.”

Some Londoners think that having an NFL team here would be good for business and broaden people’s horizons.

David Chapman, 31, from Wimbledon, said: “I’m a pub manager so it’s good to have it on in the pub on a Sunday night.”

Hannah Siow, 18, a student from Wimbledon, said: “I don’t know why it would be a problem. It would widen the scope of football-watchers and draw attention with a new team.”

Julie Hunt, 50, a counsellor from Chelsea, said: “The cheerleaders come as well – I like that.”

Tickets for Sunday’s match range from £50 to £400 and some people said they would be unwilling to fork out to see a game.

Yvonne Donaldson, 30, an architect from Wimbledon, said: “I think it’s a fine thing but I don’t think I’d pay to see a match to be honest.”

David Murdoch, 59, an administrative worker from Southfields, said: “I’m not really interested in American football.”

Student Gerry Chong, 17, from Hinchley Wood, said: “I don’t really mind as I don’t watch NFL.”

Picture courtesy of Orbisnonsuficit, with thanks

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