FINALLY!! The NFL has, at last, announced the schedules for the 2018 NFL regular-season. This means that we now know on which weekends the two Wembley games will be played.
As you probably already know, this year sees the number of games to be played in London reduced from the previous four games to three. This is because of the move away from Twickenham (which I’m not upset about in the slightest) to the new Spurs ground.
With all the uncertainty still surrounding the completion date for the new stadium, I can’t help but think the NFL has rushed into and made a mistake by holding a game there in 2018. I’m not a fan of Twickenham by any means, but I think they should have done one more year there.
Anyway, we all know that money and business partnerships come first and foremost in situations like this, but what are we getting in terms of on-field entertainment this year?
Well, we have 3 games, meaning 6 teams will be gracing us with their presence. 3 of those teams have never played a regular-season game in the NFL International Series before (LA Chargers, Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks). We are getting the current Super Bowl champions (Eagles), 2 teams that made the playoffs (Titans and Jaguars) and a team that narrowly missed the playoffs (Chargers). Add to that the ever competitive Seattle Seahawks and the team led by the new $100 million man,
Chucky Jon Gruden, and we have a pretty special lineup this year.
You can keep track of the NFL London game fixtures here.
In 2018, we will have two games at Wembley Stadium and one (maybe, if they can get it built in time) at the new Spurs stadium, which I assume is going to be called White Hart Lane still?
The season tickets (which really aren’t season tickets no matter how often NFLUK try to tell us they are) have already been on sale and snapped up meaning it’s just individual Wembley game tickets left to be sold.
These tickets will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis, so it might be an idea to get in there quickly.
Unsurprisingly, there still isn’t a date set for the sale of tickets to the Seattle Seahawks @ Oakland Raiders game to be played at the new White Hart Lane.
The reason the NFL and NFLUK are giving for this is to do with a seating plan. They are saying that they want/need to have a final seating plan in place before they put the tickets up for sale and they can’t do this until the building process is further along than it currently is and until after the NFL have been for a visit to see where they can set up the camera positions for the TV coverage.
You would have thought that TV camera positions had been factored into the architect’s plans, but apparently, the NFL requires more camera positions than a football/soccer game does — a minimum of 27, according to NFLUK.
They are saying that they want the camera positions and final seating plan in place so that they don’t sell any tickets to fans who would be left with a seat that has an obscured view. This is fair enough, but surely they should be further along the process than they currently are, right?
As usual, the hospitality tickets will go on sale first and these will be available (at extortionate prices I’m sure) from some time in June, with the feeding-frenzy of us mere plebs starting as late as the beginning of August. I find this to be very annoying as, personally, I’d like to know before then if I’ll be getting a ticket so that I can make plans in plenty of time.
NFLUK has stated that they ‘anticipate’ that 90% of season ticket holders will be able to get tickets for the game at the new Spurs ground but then go on to say that general sale tickets go on sale in August sometime — I imagine after the season ticket holders have had their chance.
I’m a little confused and put out by this. Why are they leaving 10% of loyal season ticket holders out in the cold so that other people can get a ticket? I realise that they want to attract as many people as possible to their product, but is screwing over your already loyal fanbase the correct way to go about it?
NFLUK don’t say that they anticipate 90% of season ticket holders will want tickets for the game at Spurs, they say that they anticipate 90% will be able to get tickets. Meaning 10% won’t be able to get tickets even if they wanted to.
Seems like they are creating the feeding-frenzy I keep referring to in order to panic fans into buying in a hurry and therefore creating a higher demand for tickets which allows them to raise prices.
I’m no business person, but this just smacks of money-grabbing over loyalty to customers. Every year the NFLUK and the NFL London series of games lose me that little bit more as a loyal customer, with this year being a particularly unfun affair from my point-of-view. I just feel that they now think they have a big enough fanbase over here to start trying to screw us over and upping their prices even though the whole experience outside of the games themselves is pretty poor, to be honest. And let’s face it, when only one team turns up to play with any effort, as happened in 2017, some of the games are pretty shite as well.
Anyway, I’ve got my Wembley tickets bought and paid for, so I’ll be going to those games this year, and we’ll have to see what happens in August with regards to the Seahawks/Raiders game. I’m starting to think that in future years I’ll just stay home and watch a game I want to on NFL Gamepass…Oh hang on, that’s another European NFL product that’s pretty shite!
NFL London 2018 Games
I didn’t actually start this post with the intention of banging on about how bad I think things are currently with regards to the whole NFLUK running of things and the state of the new Spurs stadium etc. I just wanted to get the now revealed fixtures into a post and onto the website. So, here are the 2018 NFL London fixtures:
Seattle Seahawks @ Oakland Raiders
White Hart Lane
Sunday, 14th October 2018
Kickoff: 6pm UK time
NFL Regular Season Week 6
Tennessee Titans @ LA Chargers
Sunday, 21st October 2018
Kickoff: 2:30pm UK time
NFL Regular Season Week 7
Philadelphia Eagles @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, 28th October 2018
Kickoff: 1:30pm UK Time
NFL Regular Season Week 8
These fixtures can be found at any time on my NFL London 2018 page. There’s a nice countdown timer on there as well so we can see how far away the games are.
Looking for somewhere to Stay?
Even though my loyalty to the NFL London games is being tested these days, I still love visiting London and spending the Saturday before the game looking around and doing the whole tourist thing.
I’m definitely not the kind of person who needs luxury and pampering so I find that a Premier Inn always serves me well during my stays as the rooms are virtually identical, no matter which of their hotels you stay in, and they’re all of a good standard.
But, if you’re looking for a package deal where you can go to one place and book a nice hotel and choose your game ticket(s), then I’d suggest Thomas Cook Sport as a good place to look. They have plenty of options on both the hotel and game tickets side of things.
What Do You Think?
Let me know in the comments below what you think about the current state of things with regards to the whole White Hart Lane game and delaying of tickets until August.
Which games will you be attending? Again, let me know below.