It seems the benefits to renewing a season ticket for NFL London games is slowly reducing as they aren’t really season tickets anymore with multiple stadiums involved that seemingly don’t work together for the fans’ benefit.

The thing that has got many season-ticket-holding fans angry with the latest NFLUK announcement about 2018 NFL London game tickets comes from this bullet point on the official NFLUK website post about renewing and the availability of tickets to the Seattle Seahawks vs Oakland Raiders game at the new stadium:

  • All 2017 season ticket holders who renew their seats will be given access to a priority pre-sale window for a limited number of tickets to Seahawks v Raiders at Tottenham. Please note: these tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis – up to a maximum of four per person.

“Limited number of tickets”, “first come, first served basis” and “up to a maximum of four per person”. What the actual ****?

What they’re saying is that not even loyal season ticket holders are guaranteed a ticket to the new stadium’s game. This is unacceptable really, in my opinion, and makes the whole season ticket for two different sized stadiums a farce with such a high demand for tickets. They also intend to allow four tickets per person which means people will be snapping them up and selling them at inflated prices as they know that 80,000+ fans (40,000 season ticket holders) will be fighting for a ticket to an NFL game held in a 60,500 maximum capacity stadium.

The season ticket holders alone could more than fill the new stadium with the four tickets per person rule in place but aren’t being allowed to with the “Limited number of tickets” line NFLUK are using — well, they’ve got to keep their sponsors, execs and celebs happy with all those freebie tickets and hospitality packages and, yes, it’s right that they allow people access to single game tickets as well.

Should they limit it to one ticket at the Spurs stadium per season ticket holder? I think they’d see a big reduction in ticket sales if they did that as I can’t imagine a stadium full of Billy-no-mates’.

The flipside to that is with the fans who buy more than four tickets on one season ticket account. I’ve seen people on social media complaining that they’ll no longer be able to enjoy the day together in the stadium in the usual group of eight as they have for multiple years previously and therefore probably won’t bother with it. I didn’t even know you could get that many on one account as I’ve only ever bought two on my account.

With such a difference in stadium capacities, this was always going to be a huge issue seeing as the demand for tickets over here is so high.

I get the impression they are phasing in a “season ticket” system for each different stadium which means they aren’t season tickets and are in fact just package deals to the games at different venues which will, as usual, mean fans will end up paying more if they want to attend the games as the benefits of purchasing a single season ticket won’t be there.

The reason for the reduced size stadium is because they intend to up the number of games we get here in the UK and know that 80,000+ fans aren’t going to be able to afford to go to a possible eight games a season and the fanbase might not yet be large enough to keep filling the larger stadiums. A smaller stadium gives them a much better chance of sustaining capacity crowds over more games. A quick look on social media will show you the amount of grumbling there’s been to the suggestion of up to eight games a year over here and that a large number of fans won’t attend that many as it’s too much for them.

NFLUK Statements After Ticket Announcement

They’ve said they’ll answer questions about the tickets during a Q&A session on Tuesday, 23rd January at 1pm but surely that’s when most people are at work with many unable to attend even though it’s at lunchtime.

For now, they’ve released a statement due to the number of initial queries and frustration shown on Twitter by many season ticket holders.

Statement from NFL UK in response to enquiries resulting from today’s ticketing announcement:

  • Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium is currently under construction, with seats not yet ready for installation.
  • It would be unwise of us to sell tickets to that game until such time as all the seating details are confirmed as this could lead to unnecessary future disruption. This can only be done once seats have been installed and a definite manifest is known.
  • There is a substantial difference in capacity in the two stadia in which we will be operating in 2018, with 84,500 available seats for NFL games at Wembley and a maximum of 60,500 at Tottenham.
  • We understand the initial frustration of season ticket account holders who would like to have the opportunity to buy more than four season tickets at Tottenham. However, our ticketing policy has to be able to accommodate the differences in each venue – e.g. to safeguard against a scenario where the total number of Wembley season ticket sales exceeds the capacity of Tottenham’s stadium.
  • Pricing for Wembley tickets will be released in the next 24 hours.
  • As we enter a season of transition, change and development we appreciate your understanding and support.
  • We remain committed to putting the experience and satisfaction of our fans first, and to prioritizing the needs of our season-ticket holders. We aim to continue to demonstrate this over the coming months.

Basically, a statement that says absolutely nothing and they appear to have missed/ignored the point that fans are angry that they aren’t guaranteed a ticket to the game at Spurs’ stadium even though they’ve been loyal for many years.

NFLUK and Sky Sports frontman, Neil Reynolds, took to Twitter after he’d finished hosting the last leg of the NFLUK Live tour in Cardiff and said:

It’s good of him to come out and say that instead of just burying his head in the sand as many NFL fans in the UK look to him as kind of a representative of theirs when it comes to things like this — he’s like their access channel to the people running things behind the scenes.

My Personal Thoughts

Why on earth put, probably, the most popular game of the three on at the smaller capacity stadium in it’s first go at hosting an NFL game when it’s not even sure they’ll be ready to do so instead of the smaller fanbase teams’ (in the UK) game of the Tennessee Titans @ LA Chargers? The Chargers have been struggling to fill that 27,000 seat stadium out there in their new home…..bonkers. I imagine the soccer boys have come in and demanded the bigger game be held at their new stadium. I wonder how the Wembley boys really feel about that?

I’m a season ticket holder to the NFL London games and have been for the past few years (and would like to continue to be) and I must say that I’m disappointed with this whole situation.

I’m a little confused as to why, this year, they’ve separated the two stadiums as they didn’t last year when it was Wembley and Twickenham hosting the games. The only thing I can think of at this stage is money. With the Spurs stadium game being a single game they feel they can get away with charging us extra fees, such as booking fee (we’ll now have to pay two instead of one on a real season ticket), and don’t have to give us the 10% discount advertised by NFLUK as a benefit of renewing your season ticket because, quite frankly, it’s not a season ticket anymore.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the people on Twitter who have been saying it’s typical of a soccer team to come on the scene and start messing things up in the name of squeezing it for every extra penny they can are right.

Personally, I’ll not allow the NFL, NFLUK, Spurs or anyone else making money from this to get me involved in a feeding frenzy for tickets to go to an NFL game over here. Yes, I love the fact that we get regular season games over here and I enjoy spending the weekend in London around the games, but one of the big things for me at any live sporting event is the atmosphere and, I’m afraid to say, no matter how hard they try, it’s a diluted one over here and not worth all this BS. Yes, I’ll try and get a ticket for this Seahawks/Raiders game at the new White Hart Lane, but if I don’t get one I’ll not be losing any sleep over it.

The whole idea of it just being about money, money, money (I realise it’s a business but the way things are heading smacks of greed at the expense of the fans — Welcome to the NFL, I hear you say) has left a bad taste in my mouth with my loyalty and trust of the whole NFL UK thing damaged.

Perhaps it’s time I saved the money I spend over the course of these weekends on game tickets, hotels, theatre tickets, train fares, tube fares, car fuel, food and drink, shopping in London, restaurant meals, NFL merchandise etc. and used it to travel to the US to experience the full atmosphere of the NFL there?

What do you think? Are people being too dramatic about this whole situation or do they have a good reason to be angry with it? Have your say in the comments below.