As a knock-on effect of Covid-19 and for the continuing safety of fans, players and personnel, the NFL has announced that it will cancel all of its planned international games, which would have taken place in London and Mexico. Instead, all games for the 2020 season will take place within the United States.
With London being a regular date and destination on the NFL’s regular season calendar since 2007 it was set to host four games again this season, split between Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The news will not only be a blow to fans in the UK, but also to the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, which recently opened its dual-purpose stadium specifically designed with a retractable field to host NFL games. The decision to not host the games is reportedly said to have an economic impact of around £4m for the club.
The full statement from the NFL reads:
The National Football League announced today that it will schedule all 2020 games in the United States in order for the entire season to be played in NFL teams’ stadia under consistent protocols focused on the well-being of players, personnel and fans. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made this decision after consultation with our clubs, national and local governments, the NFL Players Association, medical authorities and international stadium partners.
“After considerable analysis, we believe the decision to play all our games domestically this season is the right one for our players, our clubs, and all our fans in the US, Mexico and UK,” said NFL Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy & Growth Officer Christopher Halpin. “We greatly appreciate the support of our governmental and stadium partners in Mexico and the United Kingdom, who all agree with this decision, and we look forward to returning for games in both countries in the 2021 season.
“We also thank our incredible fans in those territories for their passionate support of the NFL. We will continue to serve them through our outstanding media partners and by being active supporters of both grassroots football and COVID-19 relief efforts in Mexico and the UK.”
The NFL had been planning to play one game in Mexico City at Azteca Stadium and four games in London – two at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and two at Wembley Stadium – during the 2020 season. The Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins had all previously announced that they would be home teams for International Series Games in 2020. These teams will now play all of their home games this season at their home stadia in the United States.