Ninh explains – Why American Football doesn’tquite suck in the UK.
Oh no – you’re crapping on yet anothersport.
Ooooh you’re misinformed get your factsstraight – bitch please! I did my research, maybe you should too.
Besides, most of the dislikes comes from thetriggered fans who don’t like it when someone makes an honest critique about their sport.
#offendedBut why is it that American Football doesn’t quite suck here in the UK? Especially given that ice hockey and basketballare infinitely more popular.
Before I explain, you know what to do – subscribeand hit the bell.
The reason why I’m giving American Footballa pass here, is simply because they’ve barely had a chance to play it.
Whilst ice hockey has been around for over100 years and people can barely play it anywhere, basketball has been around for over 100 yearsand is badly organized, and baseball has been around for over 100 years and nobody cares.
American Football is different because it’sonly been played in the country since about 1982.
They’ve had less than 40 years of actuallyplaying the game.
Okay, there’s been some exhibition gamesplayed by US military stationed over here – but largely before 1982 American Footballwasn’t even a thing in the UK.
Nobody played it.
Nobody watched it.
Nobody knew a damn thing about it.
It’s a fairly recent phenomenon.
So, what happened? Why 1982 specifically? Back in the day, there were only 4 TV channelsthat were free to watch for everyone.
BBC One, BBC Two, ITV and Channel 4.
It was Channel 4 that started to show weeklyNFL highlights.
This new strange brand of football, coupledwith rising problems in British soccer, especially with hooliganism, meant that popularity andcuriosity of the American Football surged in the coming years.
A lot of fans, including myself, became fansof the sport just from watching Channel 4.
With an increase in demand, came an increaseof teams, and the British American Football Federation and American Football League UKwere formed.
Teams sprouted up all over the country andthis was the start of the UK’s interest in American Football.
Obviously, the playing standard was lightyears behind the Americans, but at least it was a start.
Over the next decade, more people became interestedin the NFL and more people were interested in actually playing American Football.
But there was one thing plaguing it that isa common denominator of all these other sports … lack of money.
Whilst big name sponsors like Budweiser becametitle sponsors for the league, that money dried up pretty quickly and the costs of runningthe league spiraled out of control.
Without other big-name sponsors and no fundingfrom the government (because it’s not an Olympic sport) – teams either folded ornever really progressed.
The league itself, went into liquidation.
By the late 80’s, all seemed lost and AmericanFootball was destined to become another niche sport that fell on its face, in spectacularfashion.
They needed a generous benefactor, one thatwould inject life and interest back into the sport.
Their prayers were answered, as the biggestbenefactor of them all arrived onto our shores … the NFL itself.
After playing an exhibition game in Wembleyin 1986, between the Bears and the Cowboys … Go Cowboys … the NFL thought to itself… hang on, we’re onto something here.
An untapped English speaking market, witha good fan base, they already know how to play the game, they’ve got interest in participating, they have teams, they watch our league on TV, and we make pretty good profits off them.
All they need is little startup money andthe opportunity.
So why don’t we give it to them? The NFL set up the NFL Trust in 1990 to developthe participation game further and a year after in 1991, the World League of AmericanFootball was formed.
A league of international teams from the US, Canada, Germany, Spain and the London Monarchs being the sole UK representative.
The first season was a huge success, withthe Monarchs beating the Barcelona Dragons in the first ever World Bowl, 21-0.
They played in front of 61, 000 screaming fansat the old Wembley stadium.
British fans went nuts and really got behindthe team.
Their success was proof positive that if youbuild it, and they’re successful, they will come.
This is called .
the NFL effect.
By 1995, they added a second team, the ScottishClaymores based in Edinburgh Scotland, and by 1998 the British American Football Leaguewas formed, finally giving the country a universally recognized governing body for the participationof the American Football.
Structure, success and mainstream popularity.
What could possibly go wrong? So far this video has been pretty positive, but you know this is where it goes south.
The WLAF, which was now rebranded as NFL Europehad its own share of problems.
I won’t explain the full story, as it’scoming up in a future video right here – but in short, they made some pretty bad decisionsthat resulted in the demise of the Monarchs, the Claymores and eventually the league itself.
As a spectator sport, Channel 4 stopped showingthe NFL to the masses for free, which dulled the mainstream interest, especially seeingas though the internet wasn’t really a thing yet.
If you wanted to watch the NFL, you’d haveto pay for Sky satellite TV – which nobody did, just for as few American Football highlights.
And as a participation sport, the BAFL sufferedfrom infighting with the BAFA, which had positioned itself as the recognized governing body aheadof the BAFL.
To spite them, they actually withdrew fromthe BAFA .
But sadly for them, the teams that they govern didn’t share their opinion – effectivelyleaving them as an Football League managing exactly zero teams.
That ultimately spelled their demise and since2010, the BAFA now runs the sport here in the UK.
By the mid 2000’s, with no NFL Europe, analarming drop in spectator views thanks to Channel 4 not showing games anymore, and participationnumbers down because of teams going bust or teams not agreeing with leagues and governingbodies … it seemed like once again, American Football was destined to fall to a painfuldeath.
And then the NFL stepped in again.
The NFL isn’t stupid.
Sure they’ve made some bad decisions inthe past, but they’ve made enough good decisions to make them the most profitable sports leaguein the world … by a mile.
They’re pretty convinced that they weren’twrong about the UK, so in 2007 they came back to London with the Giants and Dolphins – sellout crowd.
2008 with the Chargers and Saints … sellout crowd.
They’ve come back every year for the lastthirteen years … all games, all sell outs.
They definitely weren’t wrong, the UK isan excellent market ripe for the picking.
Clearly the demand for the NFL is still there, you could argue whether it’s real British demand or continental Europe demand, but onething you can’t say is that it’s a novelty.
Because it’s not … it’s gone way pastnovelty and surely if it was, then the demand would have died off by now.
But no – sell out, sell out, sell out.
They’re even playing more and more gameshere every year with the intention of possibly shipping out a team here permanently.
Whether they will or not, is covered in someof my other videos.
And because of the NFL effect, the BAFA havehad to pull their socks up.
They’ve had to be pretty organized becausethere’s a lot of towns and cities wanting to form teams now.
They’ve had to create a structure, a hierarchyof teams and a progression system, very similar to that of the USA.
And the teams themselves have had to pulltheir finger out too.
It’s no longer a bunch of guys who wantto hit somebody on a field anymore.
They’ve got training regimes, diets, dealswith gyms etc.
Even though it’s still an amateur sport, the participants train like pros.
Even Universities have caught on to AmericanFootball – with University teams competing in the BUCS league – though this isn’tat all like the NCAA where students get free education just for playing.
not yet anyway.
The only thing really missing is a fully professionalizedleague with TV and sponsorship deals like what the UK has for Ice Hockey and football, mainly because the standard isn’t good enough to be televised.
But progress is fast and I wouldn’t putit past teams to become so good that they could play professionally.
And to make sure that the sport doesn’tfall flat on it’s face for a third time, the NFL have permanent offices in London thatoversee their own training and performance camps for talented individuals.
They realise that there’s a huge untappedmarket in potential players – especially ex Rugby players – imagine a whole countryfull of players with transferable skills.
As well as ex soccer, basketball players andathletes who for some reason can’t catch a break in their own sport, but are welcomedwith open arms in American Football.
Some notable Brits now play in the NFL andI’m pretty sure we’ll see a lot more as the years go by.
In short, American Football doesn’t quitesuck in the UK because there’s a reason why the NFL play in London every single year.
It stokes the fire that is the demand forAmerican Football in country.
Will teams become good enough have a fullyprofessionalized league soon? Will the UK end up with its own NFL franchise? Are Brits good enough to compete on an internationallevel and be known for their American Football rather than their native version of football? Well the sport is still in its infancy overhere and only time will tell, but I wouldn’t bet against it.
I believe that American Football is the sleepinggiant here in the UK.
If you’ve enjoyed this video, please besure to like share and subscribe and let me know in the comments section below what youthink? Ninh Ly – www.
uk – @NinhLyUK.