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Why does the NFL play in London?

We take a look back at the history of the NFL’s International Series and why the NFL travels across the pond.

NFL: London Games- Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Views Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 NFL International Series kicks off in Week 4 with the first of three games in London. The Sunday, October 2nd game will feature the Minnesota Vikings facing the New Orleans Saints at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

The league will follow with the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers meeting at the same location in Week 5, and then the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars meeting at Wembley Stadium in Week 8.

The International Series will feature games in Mexico (49ers-Cardinals) and Germany (Seahawks-Buccaneers) in November, but London is where this all started. The NFL has played exhibition games around the globe over the years and had NFL Europe running until 2007.

That year marked the start of the International Series of regular season NFL action. The NFL first went outside the United States in 2005 when the Arizona Cardinals played the San Francisco 49ers at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City in front of 103,467 fans. However, the formalized International Series officially began in 2007.

The New York Giants and Miami Dolphins face off on October 28, 2007 in front of 81,176 fans at Wembley Stadium. It was the first regular season game to take place outside of North America and was the start of a growing series of such games. The first five years, one game was held in London at Wembley Stadium. In 2013, two games took place at Wembley Stadium. The NFL increased the game total to three games in 2014, added Twickenham Stadium as a location in 2016, and added Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as a location in 2019.

The International Series did not take place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has since returned. London hosted two games in 2021 and in 2022 we’ll see the three London games, one game in Mexico City, and one game in Munich.