Offshore NFL game goes to London


London will host the first regular season NFL game to be staged outside North America next year, the National Football League announced Tuesday.

No venue has been confirmed but likely candidates include the new Wembley stadium or Twickenham, home of English rugby.

NFL owners voted in October to play up to two games outside the U.S. every year for the next five years, with the series kicking off with a single game in 2007.

London beat off competition from Germany, who provide five of the six teams playing in the NFL Europe, to host the game.

"There is great interest in the NFL around the world," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement.

"Playing a limited number of regular-season games outside the United States is the next step for us serving that interest  ...  there is no better place to begin this initiative than London."

Further details of the game are expected to be confirmed on Feb. 2, with media reports suggesting a match-up between the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants.

"They are two of many teams that have expressed an interest in the game," NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell told a conference call.

"We're going to evaluate that over the next couple of weeks and try to determine what the best match up for our fans will be."

The NFL staged its first regular-season game outside the U.S. in 2005 when 103,467 people watched the Arizona Cardinals play the San Francisco 49ers in Mexico City, the largest crowd for a regular-season game in NFL history.

London's Wembley stadium hosted an exhibition game between the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys in 1986 and the capital was briefly home to the London Monarchs.

Playing at the old Wembley Stadium, the Monarchs were inaugural members of the World League of American Football in 1991, winning the World Bowl that season with victory over the Barcelona Dragons.

Rebranded the England Monarchs in 1997, the franchise played at a variety of venues around the country before closing down in 1998.