The National Football League announced Tuesday that it will play three regular season games in London next year, up from the two regular season games being played this year.
The NFL has played one regular season game in London since 2007. This season was the first time the league decided to play two games in England. ()
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The Minnesota Vikings' 34-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4 of the current season drew 83,000 to Wembley Stadium, according to the NFL
. On Oct. 27, last year's Super Bowl participant San Francisco 49ers will play the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jacksonville, the Atlanta Falcons and the Oakland Raiders will be the home teams for games next year, according to the NFL. Their opponents and dates have not been slated.
"Our fans in the U.K. have continued to demonstrate that they love football and want more," commissioner Roger Goodell said in the statement. "Both of this year's games in London sold out quickly. The fan enthusiasm for our sport continues to grow. By playing two games in the UK this year, we are creating more fans. We hope that with three games in London next year we will attract even more people to our game."
Shahid Khan, who owns the Jaguars and England's Premier League soccer club in Fulham, told the Telegraph he has been overwhelmed by the fans' support of his team
"The experience the Jaguars have had already in London has been every bit what we anticipated and more, and this is all before we've even played our first game in Wembley Stadium," Khan said. "We made the right decision to commit to playing a home game in London each season through 2016."
NFL.com media writer Albert Breer said even though the league has dreams of placing an NFL franchise in London,
actually pulling it off remains unrealistic.
"If the league goes to three games anytime soon, it'll be about ambition," Breer wrote in September. "The growth of the league in the United Kingdom since 2007 has been significant, but not to the point where those running the show over there believe relocating a franchise to London or having an expansion team is on the foreseeable horizon."
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