31/10/2012 05:27 GMT | Updated 31/10/2012 05:29 GMT

NFL Franchises In Talks Over Becoming 'Anchor Tenants' Of Olympic Stadium

NFL franchises are in talks with London Mayor Boris Johnson about becoming anchor tenants of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium in Stratford.

According to The Daily Telegraph, discussions took place last weekend when Wembley hosted its annual American football match as the New England Patriots thrashed the St. Louis Rams.

A spokesman for Mayor Johnson is reported to have said “the ever-growing popularity of gridiron" in the United Kingdom has led to a number of meetings "to explore further opportunities for NFL" in the capital.

"The talks were exploratory and we are at an early stage but the signs are encouraging,” he added. Ten NFL matches would be played at the Stadium.

Although the 80,000 sell-out at Wembley on Sunday is an indication of the NFL's pulling power this side of the Atlantic, today's news is likely to irk West Ham United and Leyton Orient, the two football clubs vying to move to Stratford.


West Ham and Leyton Orient are both eager to move to Stratford

The 2015 rugby World Cup could also be staged at the venue which, irrespective of who its principal tenants will be, appears destined to host a number of sports. Formula One's long-mooted London Grand Prix has also been linked to utilising the venue.

West Ham have been favourites to relocate from Upton Park but their bid may incur problems via state aid, an issue believed to have been raised by the European Commission in a letter to the British Government. The London Legacy Development Corporation however is confident any contributions would not be regarded as state aid.

League One club Leyton Orient's chairman Barry Hearn earlier this month suggested the club's name could change to London Orient if they were successful in their bid. Hearn has preached "Orient makes a lot of sense to the legacy" as opposed to Premier League side West Ham.


Wembey hosted its annual NFL match on Sunday

The legacy factor may also undermine the NFL's chances because of its stature in American culture, as well as a potentially negative reaction from the British public at the prospect of it occupying Stratford.