As part of the relocation of the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles, Owner Stan Kroenke suggested he had agreed to have the team participate in the NFL International Series for three seasons from 2016-18. The Rams played the New York Giants this year and are slated for another game in London next year ahead of what reportedly will be the 2018 home opener* in China against the San Francisco 49ers.
The trio is part of the Rams’ focused effort to make the Rams the NFL’s "first truly global team", a top priority in the franchises’ overall scale along with winning football games which they are certainly very committed to!
Today, the NFL has announced they will be increasing the 2017 NFL International from the three games it has offered abroad the last three seasons to four games. The switch comes about as the sport is finding growing success in the UK:
While TV ratings in America might be down, the NFL has seen increased growth in the UK. Per the NFL, Sunday viewership of games has more than doubled since 2007 and the Super Bowl audience has increased more than 75 percent. This season, the NFL is on pace to reach a record number of unique TV viewers in the UK.
The effort to get more NFL football in London is something Kroenke has expressed a desire to be a part of; sacrificing two home games in 2016 and 2017 to play there is a fair indication of his sincerity.
As for the NFL’s potential to get a franchise permanently located there? It’s clearly something that’s not going away, whether it would require relocation or expansion.
For now, it’s just a sign that the NFL is getting ever more popular in London and that the Rams will be front and center as part of the effort to keep that expanding popularity.
Teams and venues for 2017 will be announced at 8:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday, December 13, on the NFL’s Facebook page.