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London Mayor Wants A Super Bowl, Which Is Exactly The Wrong Priority



Sadiq Khan is a very popular politician in London, which is the reason he was recently re-elected as mayor for a third time, in part on a platform of bringing major sports and the revenue they generate to his city.

So now Mr. Mayor wants Mr. Lombardi’s trophy to come to London.

London officially wants a Super Bowl, Khan told The Athletic on Thursday.

“The Super Bowl is really important for us,” Khan said. “We have a number of American football games and I want it to come here because we want American sports fans in Europe to come to London to watch them, not just go to America.”

“Not just go to America?”

What are we? Bangers and mash?

Brits Want King Sport

Khan said he wants as many major sporting events, including WrestleMania, and championship boxing matches, held in London because he wants to turn the English capital into the sporting capital of the world. 

And to do that, you have to have something the British understand: Royalty.

So Khan wants America’s King Sport to play not only regular-season games in London but wants King Sport’s premier event.

The Super Bowl.

That’s fine. It’s an aspirational goal. 

And the NFL regularly reminds us it wishes to expand its reach internationally. And that might even include international expansion some day, but probably not any day soon.

So, that presents a problem for Khan and London.

London Lacks A Team

It’s one thing to play a regular-season game in London. But King Sport’s crown jewel being shipped overseas is quite another matter.

The first problem with that is the fact London doesn’t have a team. 

The NFL has never played a Super Bowl in a city without a team. The reason is that the Super Bowl is a huge boost to local economies – the reason Khan wants it in his town – and NFL owners typically want to help boost their own cities.

Local NFL owners want to bring that impact and attention to their cities. And other NFL owners want to help them so that, eventually the thinking goes, those owners will help them get a Super Bowl of their own.

And then there is the idea that the NFL and football being very American, there is a reticence about losing such a big prize to a foreign country.

Especially when cities in America are already lined up – sorry, queued — for the game.

Long List Of Cities Want A Super Bowl

Miami wants the Super Bowl. So do New Orleans, and Phoenix. New York wants another, Los Angeles wants more, Chicago eventually wants one, so does Detroit, as do San Francisco, Dallas and Tampa.

It’s a thing.

So how does London push its way onto that wait list without even having a team?

How do NFL owners, who reward each other with the game, reward a town that doesn’t have a club owner to reward?

By the way, did you know the NFL is actually more popular in Germany than in the UK? The ratings are higher. The games sell out just as quickly.

Anyway, Khan’s push for his city is understandable. 

He is expected to speak with NFL officials in the coming months on the matter.

But he probably shouldn’t expect anything to happen on the Super Bowl front until something happens on the expansion front first.

That’s what he really ought to be seeking.

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