Very little information is out there at this moment other than what we already knew. There will be 4 games in London and one in Mexico and one of the London home teams will be Jacksonville. That means there’s a 3 in 4 chance that the Buccaneers will be heading to London for the 3rd time! The other teams to feature in 2019 will be the LA Rams, the LA chargers and the possibly homeless Raiders.
Tampa Bay last visited London back in 2011, which incidentally marks the day that I became a Bucs fan. We lost to Chicago 24-18. In our previous visit 2 years earlier we had a whooping from the Patriots. Here’s hoping that it’s 3rd time lucky for the Bucs in the NFL International Games.
If you didn’t already know, part of the deal of the Super Bowl coming to Tampa in 2021 was for the Bucs to appear in the NFL International Games. We just didn’t know when it would be.
Popularity of the NFL has skyrocketed in the UK in recent years. We now sit at 4 games per year in London and next year we will have a brand new stadium hosting games, built with NFL in mind. It’s primarily for the London based football (soccer) team Tottenham Hotspur, but features a unique retractactable field so that NFL is not played on the grass. It also adjusts the height of the playing field accordingly so that those sitting near the front do not have a restricted view.
There’s been plenty of talk about a London franchise coming too. Attendance records continue to be broken, with Wembley hitting north of 86,000 spectators this year. There’s also the fact that Jags owner Shahid Kahn tried to buy Wembley not too long ago.
You’ll find a very strong Buccaneers fanbase in the UK, with BucsUK leading the charge. There are regularly scheduled trips from the UK out to Tampa to catch a game. I’ve even been on a tour of One Buc place when I was over a few years back. The Buccaneers organization work very closely with these fan groups to ensure that the 4000+ miles from the UK to Tampa don’t feel quite as far.
I think it could be a good thing for the Bucs to play away from Tampa. Attendances have been up and down, you get huge crowds in London. With the large fan base it will be just like a home game is meant to be. The stadium will be decked out with Bucs banners etc. The endzones will show Bucs branding. There will probably be a cannon too!
The final information for the 2019 NFL International Games is likely to be confirmed just after the draft when schedules are announced. We’ll then know who we’ll be playing, and whether it’s London or Mexico. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted!
Be sure to check out all of the excellent content from the WTB team. Until next time, go Bucs!