Henry Hodgson has been extolling the virtue of the NFL’s presence in the UK. The General Manager for the NFL’s UK office is feeling positive about the progress made so far in expanding the sport’s fanbase and with the potential for a bright future.
Hodgson was appointed to his current role in 2022 and is responsible for all aspects of the NFL’s operations in the key UK market. He has spoken about the NFL’s partnership with Tottenham FC and the positive impact that the inclusion of flag football at the Olympics could have.
There are still some discussions needed before flag football is included in the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028, but if the inclusion does happen, Hodgson believes it would enhance the popularity of the NFL in the UK. This would happen as more young people would join initiatives such as the Huddle Project in the hope of representing their country at future Olympic competitions.
The foundations at the Huddle Project make it easy for flag football to expand in the UK. The project delivers a program for young people aged 11-18 that combines NFL FLAG with soccer and other well-being activities. From flag football, youngsters could then move on to an interest in the NFL franchises that are investing in the UK market, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears, and Miami Dolphins.
Hodgson is excited by the possibilities the project presents. He is also impressed by the progress made so far in expanding the NFL UK fanbase. Statistics show that he is right to be happy. When the introduction of NFL franchises in the UK began, many people believed obstacles such as travel, competition from soccer, and the lack of a fanbase would be difficult to overcome, but this has not been the case.
A YouGov poll in 2022 showed that 9% of people in the UK are either somewhat interested in the NFL or have a major interest in it. This figure makes the NFL the most popular US sports league in the UK when compared with the NBA, Major League Baseball, and the NHL.
This heightened popularity is reflected in the UK betting landscape. Sportsbooks offer several NFL betting options, a trend that is noticeable both on licensed GAMSTOP UK-based platforms and bookmakers outside the scheme. In the event that Hodgson’s optimistic outlook on the NFL’s future in the UK becomes a reality, betting choices will grow even more.
Initiatives like the Huddle Project and the UK NFL Academy support Hodgson’s optimism. They will hopefully make it possible for players from the UK to participate in college football and possibly the NFL. As this happens, people in the UK will relish the opportunity to watch and bet on homegrown stars. This will lead to a further expansion of the NFL fanbase in the country. It remains to be seen how much growth happens. However, according to experts like Hodgson, the NFL’s UK operations are healthier than ever, creating strong foundations for the future.