The popularity of the National Football League (NFL) in the UK is growing and is unstoppable. Based on the research conducted by the NFL, it is estimated that about 14.3 million fans of the sport reside in the country, meaning close to 20% of the British population are NFL enthusiasts.
These figures are still expected to increase in the coming years. But the question is, what makes the NFL popular in a non-US country? Football is a major American sport, so its blooming popularity in the UK was unexpected. To better understand how an American sport became a big hit in the United Kingdom, let’s discuss each factor contributing to UK fans' growing interest in the NFL.
Due to increased internet usage and gadgets, football fans in the UK were given a chance to access NFL games easily as they are happening on the other side of the world. This is one main reason the UK population was exposed to this sport.
As you may know, the UK has its own sports to love. However, as the accessibility to other sports becomes effortless, you are offered other options to watch and bet on. And with the thrilling nature of the NFL, it captures the heart of their UK fans.
Uk-based NFL fans can watch each game online on their computers or mobile devices. They can witness their favorite NFL team with a stable internet connection throughout the season.
Moreover, you can also monitor the team odds through an online sportsbook. There are so many reliable online sportsbooks where you can check the odds of your favorite team. For example, head on over to FanDuel and take a look at the FanDuel NFL odds.
You can monitor the NFL odds regularly through this webpage and know whether your favorite team is doing great or not.
Increased Exposure through Media
It's no secret that American football, or as it's known here in the UK, the NFL, has been steadily gaining popularity on this side of the world. This growth has largely been fuelled by the increased exposure through various media channels.
In recent years, the NFL has made concerted efforts to increase its exposure in the United Kingdom. There has been a significant increase in the airing of NFL games on UK television, with networks such as Sky Sports and BBC airing live games and highlight shows.
This increased media exposure has played a pivotal role in expanding the game's popularity amongst UK fans.
London-based NFL Games
Another contributing factor to the popularity of the NFL in the UK is the commencement of the NFL International Series. The International Series ended with a memorable clash between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants at London's Wembley Stadium.
The Giants emerged victorious in an exhilarating encounter that introduced many international fans to the sheer excitement of American Football.
Since its launch on October 28, 2007, the NFL has held regular-season games in London, allowing UK fans to experience the game live. The games are often sell-outs, indicating the growing interest and enthusiasm for the sport.
The NFL's London games have become a highly anticipated spectacle, featuring some of the league's most prominent teams. The Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and the New York Jets are among the teams gracing the pitch.
These games do more than just entertain the crowds. They allow British sports fans to experience American football's pulsating action and strategic depth, broadening its appeal beyond US borders.
The success of the London-based games prompted the NFL to continue having matches in London, which will only broaden the game's reach within the United Kingdom. Aside from the UK, the NFL International Series has dominated other countries like Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan, and many more.
Social Media Influence
Social media has allowed the NFL to reach a vast audience that wasn't previously possible. The NFL and its teams can share real-time updates, thrilling highlights, and behind-the-scenes content that brings fans closer to the action through platforms such as X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and Facebook.
Moreover, these platforms provide a space for fans to engage directly with teams and players, creating a sense of community and fan loyalty that transcends geographical boundaries.
Athletes’ personal social media accounts also give fans an unprecedented insight into their lives off the field, which can foster a deeper connection and interest in the sport.
The NFL's official social media accounts regularly post updates, game highlights, and player interviews, readily accessible to UK fans.
Additionally, interactive features such as live chats and Q&A sessions with players and coaches, as well as fan contests and giveaways, further enhance the social media experience.
Not to mention the convenience of accessing these interactions through a smartphone or computer, which has undoubtedly played a significant role in the NFL's growing fanbase in the UK.
Furthermore, many individuals are now primarily, or even solely, watching sports through social media platforms. The influence of these platforms on fan involvement and the sports industry's business aspects is progressing faster than the uptake of television broadcasts.
With the factors mentioned above, it is no wonder why the NFL’s popularity has rapidly grown over the past years. And with the NFL's continued efforts to internationalize the sport, the fanbase in the UK is expected to grow even further in the coming years.