The Chicago Bears played their first regular season game in London’s Wembley Stadium. The outcome was that the Chicago Bears won twice.
The Chicago Bears defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-18 in a closely fought battle that featured Bears running back Matt Forte who stole the show, along with Bears quarterback Jay Cutler turning in an adequate performance and showing great improvement.
But what this was really all about is the globalization of NFL and for the Chicago Bears, the possibility they will become regulars here in London.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants to send the more popular teams to London. The bigger draws. And this game drew over 76,000 fans.
“We want to see the more popular teams come over,” Goodell said Saturday afternoon during a Q&A with fans at London’s Landmark Hotel. “Our game had advanced far enough that there is enough exposure to the game. Should we focus (now on) just a couple of teams consistently coming back here to build a fan base around those teams?
“With the Bucs the idea is this will allow them to build a fan base quicker? And it’s for us to see how you build that fan base. So, it’s a balancing act. Is it going to advance our cause here?”
Goodell added focusing on a few select teams will be “very powerful” in growing fan interest. There are Bears fans all over London and they have been spotted out and about everywhere. Moreover, the Bears are a a recognizable brand still known here from the team’s exhibition trip in 1986.
But it is not just how many fans are drawn to Wembley Stadium on a given Sunday. It is television audience and licensing fees.
And the Chicago Bears could just fit that bill.
And I said yesterday, this could fit right into Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plans too.
And more than that, it can expand relations between the USA and England, but more specifically, relations between the city of Chicago and the city of London.
And Chicago, with a mayor like Rahm Emanuel who has said he would like to globally expand the city of Chicago’s outreach, it is the perfect fit.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books