OPINION - London should host the Super Bowl — it makes more sense than you think

[object Object] (USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con)
[object Object] (USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con)

This weekend, American football fans in London will be camping out in pubs across London until 4am to watch the final game of the NFL season, the Super Bowl. With Las Vegas hosting the Kansas Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, and Taylor Swift, anticipation for this famous spectacle is growing.

But, why shouldn’t London get a piece of this sporting glitz and glamour and host the Super Bowl itself?

Last year finally brought a sense of certainty back for the capital’s tourist and hospitality industry. And, after two years of Covid lockdowns, normality was what we needed. But the cost of living crisis isn’t exactly helping our restaurants, hotels and pubs to recover. In fact, one in five drinkers attempted Dry January — more than any other year previously — in part to the high cost of living.

To try and give London’s tourist industry the boost it deserves, the UK has often looked to sporting events. We’ve hosted the Olympics and the 2020 Euro final, and we recently bid to host the 2028 Euros and 2030 World Cup.

But the Super Bowl is a glaring omission, and something London Mayor Sadiq Khan should be itching to capitalise on. London deserves the economic boost and there has never been a better time for the capital to be the first non-American city to host the Super Bowl.

Tottenham Hotspurs’ stadium would make a natural home

Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL, has been keen to highlight the $500 million boost a city can rake in from hosting the Super Bowl. And, despite the many American-city suitors, he keeps trying to win over London as a future host.

But, it isn’t just the NFL who are keen to make this happen. Daniel Levy, owner of Tottenham Hotspur, has on multiple occasions suggested their stadium as the appropriate host. This would be a natural partnership: the stadium already hosts two NFL games a year.

In fact, the success of the NFL’s ‘London Games’ series is yet another reason why London should host the Super Bowl. Over 210,000 NFL fans, many of whom are American tourists, pour into Wembley and Spurs’ stadium every year, happily bringing their cash with them.

And London hosting the Super Bowl should just be step one in growing our relationship with the $163bn NFL industry. The Jacksonville Jaguars already call London their second home, playing here once a year; why shouldn’t they make the move permanently? After all, it is not uncommon for NFL teams to move cities.

A lot of positive noise is already coming from the right people, but London’s ambition to host the NFL needs to be taken to the next level.

With a Mayoral election this year, this could be an easy win for Sadiq Khan. If the tremendous economic boost to London’s tourist and hospitality industry isn’t enough to convince the Mayor, perhaps he’ll do it for all us Londoners who are American football fans. We’re sick of staying up till 4am for the Super Bowl.

Max Anderson is a former Communications Adviser to London Mayoral Candidate Samuel Kasumu and Associate Fellow for Bright Blue