The Black Hole is going to be invading one of the most iconic venues in sports in 2014 when the Oakland Raiders head to London’s Wembley Stadium for one of their 8 home games in 2014.
In addition to the usual suspects in the Jacksonville Jaguars (London EPL club Fulham’s owner also owns the Jaguars), and the Atlanta Falcons the Raiders will also play “home games” there, with the dates and opponents to be announced later this year.
Obviously the big story here is more games for London as the NFL continues to strengthen its relationship with the burgeoning UK market. An extra home game won’t do much to stop the rumors that the NFL will eventually place a franchise over the Atlantic in London.
“Our fans in the UK have continued to demonstrate that they love football and want more,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Both of this year’s games in London sold out quickly. The fan enthusiasm for our sport continues to grow. By playing two games in the UK this year, we are creating more fans. We hope that with three games in London next year we will attract even more people to our game.”
Oakland will lose one of their home games next season, but it will be a homecoming for two of their current players should they remain on the Raiders roster next season. Menelik Watson and Jack Crawford are both Brits.
— Paolo Bandini (@Paolo_Bandini) October 8, 2013
The Raiders “away” opponent will be revealed later, although many are pushing for the 49ers as they have already played in London and it could restore the Battle of the Bay after a shooting incident has put the series between the two Bay Area Franchises on hold. A game in Wembley could solve those problems and give a potentially marquee match up of Colin Kaepernick and Terrelle Pryor for the English fans to witness. Either way, save up Raider fans, you are going to Wembley.