The National Football League is one of the biggest brands in the world. The revenues for all the 32 franchises combined are worth around $15 to $20 billion, which is up from $4 billion in 2001. It's no surprise, then, that American football is making its way around the world.
Fans don’t find it weird, for example, when the NFL goes to London for matches. Nor do British supporters ignore it when the NFL arrives. 60,000 to 90,000 people flock to Wembley or the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to see their favorite stars, and technology has a big role to play.
The Ability to Live Stream
The UK viewing figures were already up by 8% on the first three weekends of last season by the beginning of the new campaign in 2020. In October the same year, Sky Sports, a UK TV operator, reported that its ratings were the highest ever as 14 million viewers tuned in. Cleveland Browns versus the Dallas Cowboys accounted for some of the audience.
As you can see, watching American football in the UK isn’t difficult any longer because it’s on the main TV channels during primetime. However, this wasn’t always the case. When gridiron wasn’t accessible, streaming helped to bridge the gap as viewers could find and watch online broadcasts via the internet.
Streaming continues to be a major part of the draw for audiences to this day, especially as it ties in perfectly with gambling. American football odds of +450 or +500 for Tampa Bay or Kansas City to win Super Bowl LVI are made more appealing by the fact that bettors can keep up to date with the action through their operator.
Without this piece of software in the beginning, and without it carrying on the trend even when the NFL is easier to watch, the sport’s fanbase may never have become so big. A record NFL attendance inside Wembley today.
Data science & European Sports
American sports were among the first to embrace data science. Indeed, many of the facts used throughout European games pale in comparison to what US audiences get to analyze when experiencing a match. That goes for the NBA, MLB and NHL, as well as the NFL. However, as data experts gain popularity in soccer, the link between quality data and American football only attracts viewers.
For instance, Manchester City has, among many other people in their background staff, a man who once worked for the UK Treasury, and who has a degree in astrophysics. Even the Oakland A’s struggle to match that firepower! Reports say that Arsenal, on the other hand, has a team of up to 15 people working on the areas of performance, analysis and data science. As the NFL looks to take its approach to the next level – artificial intelligence is being developed to reduce the number of injuries to players – the connection won’t be lost on the UK.
After all, football, cricket and rugby are all catching on regarding the importance of data analytics. Essentially, the more technology is used across the sporting world, it more it brings fans together, regardless of their allegiances.
American football and the NFL are growing at rapid rates in the United Kingdom. Hopefully, technology can ensure the process carries on at its current trajectory.