NFL Seeks Global Fans with London Game For the first time, the National Football League held a regular-season game overseas Sunday. The New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins 13-10 in front of more than 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium in London. The NFL is trying to expand interest in the sport around the world.

NFL Seeks Global Fans with London Game

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Andrea Seabrook.

Usually, the NFL's Miami Dolphins play their home games in the warm sunshine of Southern Florida. Today, not quite. The cold, nagging rain of London's Wembley Stadium greeted the Dolphins as they fell to the New York Giants 13-to-10. This was the first time the NFL scheduled a regular season game overseas. Of all the major American team sports, football is the only one without a significant global following. And today's experiment was a success. Over 80,000 fans filled the stadium.

I caught up with a few of them as they spilled out into the pub surrounding Wembley.


DAVE (Resident, Paris): Yes, hello?

SEABROOK: Hi, how are you?

DAVE: Hey. How are you doing?

SEABROOK: Good. Where are you?

DAVE: I'm in the little pub somewhere outside of Wembley Park.

SEABROOK: Did you go to the game today?

DAVE: Yes. I went to the game.

SEABROOK: And what did you think?

DAVE: It was a little rainy, but Giants won so it's good for me.

SEABROOK: Where are you from, Dave?

DAVE: I live in Paris, but I'm from New York.

SEABROOK: So what's it like watching a football game in London?

DAVE: It's different, definitely different. The fans were - the stadium was packed. Not everybody knew well the rules and everything. But it was pretty cool. It was pretty cool.

SEABROOK: Good. Is there anybody around you that you could pass the phone?

DAVE: Yeah. Hold on. I'll get somebody else. Hold on.

SEABROOK: All right. Cool.


SEABROOK: Hello, sir.

Mr. HICKERING: Hello. How are you?

SEABROOK: Good. How are you?

Mr. HICKERING: You sound very happy.

SEABROOK: Oh, I am very happy.

Mr. HICKERING: Pardon?

SEABROOK: What's your name?

Mr. HICKERING: What's my name? James Hickering.

SEABROOK: And did you see the game?

Mr. HICKERING: Yes. I went to Wembley. Yeah.

SEABROOK: Did you understand the rules of the game, all the downs and the touchdowns and this stuff?

Mr. HICKERING: Yeah, yeah. I've been following American football for probably about 10, 11 years now, so yeah. I just keep some of my colleagues and friends sort of in tuned in what they're doing. I think there's quite a lot of English people that don't really know what's going on to - amidst, though, I managed to put them straight.

SEABROOK: Oh, yeah. Did a lot of people have to come and ask you what's going on, James?

Mr. HICKERING: Yeah, yeah. It was like a - lots of people would sort of try and compare it to rugby.


Mr. HICKERING: So they were saying if the rules were sort of the same and things like that. So I had to explain it to quite a few people, but …

Unidentified Man: Are you going?

Mr. HICKERING: …it's okay.

SEABROOK: James, what was the atmosphere in the stadium like? I mean, were people doing traditionally American cheers? Or were they pulling a couple of rugby ones on you?

Mr. HICKERING: It wasn't like a traditional sort of English soccer game as you would say, whether it's more sort of a tribal thing that they're shouting at the opposition and the opposition players. And there's a lot of mad joking going on then than what was then making football.

SEABROOK: Well, it's exciting to hear that they're branching out across the pond there. What do you - what are the chances do you think of American football being a big splash in Europe?

Mr. HICKERING: Thing that - yeah, we just need to sort of keep the momentum from today really and just take it from there because a part of it being on sort of satellite TV and late night on terrestrial TV then there's not that much exposure to it, to be very honest. But I think that the spectacle of it, if they can keep it full and rather (unintelligible) that, it might take off.

SEABROOK: Thanks for talking to us, James.

Mr. HICKERING: You're welcome.

SEABROOK: A few of the folks who caught today's NFL game at London's Wembley Stadium.

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