THE BLOG
01/10/2015 13:11 BST | Updated 01/10/2016 06:12 BST

Why It's No Surprise London Is Excited for the Return of the NFL International Series

When the 2015 NFL International Series begins its three match spectacular on October 4 at the world famous Wembley Stadium, it is not only the ever-growing number of UK American football fans who will be delighted. London's economy will also hugely benefit if previous years' remarkable statistics are anything to go by.

In 2013 the international accountancy firm Deloitte calculated that the London economy received a £32million boost - £20million of which came through retail and entertainment spending as more than 80% of the fans attending came from outside London. Indeed four per cent came from outside the United Kingdom and the figures in corporate hospitality - normally a difficult weekend sell for any sport - were again significant. And in 2013 there were only two matches in the international series but they still attracted 167,000 fans.

Fast forward to last autumn and the figures are set to be even more impressive with early calculations after last season's three matches showed that ticket revenue alone was likely to have touched £23million - with the Jacksonville Jaguars game against the Dallas Cowboys being the most lucrative.

That game alone attracted more than 83,000 fans - a massive 19,000 more than Jacksonville's average home attendance - and generated nearly £8million in ticket sales.

But importantly it is not only the revenue that is returning but also the 'hardcore' number of UK American football fans. Alistair Kirkwood, the NFL UK Managing Director, believes that there are more than three million NFL fans in Britain now.

That is more than half a million more than two years ago, the game is continuing to grow rapidly and the recent BBC deal to show all three International Series games and the Super Bowl makes NFL more accessible to UK fans than ever before.

With the number of fans set to climb further again it won't be long before the likes of Harry Kane, Tottenham's self-confessed New England Patriots fan, are joined by more and more high profile admirers of the NFL.

Alistair Kirkwood believes that we need 5-6million fans to sustain an NFL franchise and with Boris Johnson tweeting about the lengths the government are going in order to host an NFL franchise in the UK the dream of having a London-based team no longer seems impossible but more a likelihood.

Younger fans have been inspired to take a keen interest in the sport through the hugely successful Play 60 scheme that has been introduced to school pupils throughout the UK in 2015. The scheme is set to carry on through the remainder of the year and into 2016 meaning that this young fan base will grow rapidly.

So as the count down begins to the opening game of the NFL International Series on Sunday - the New York Jets against the Miami Dolphins - you can see clearly why everyone on this side of the Atlantic is getting extremely excited.