American Football: Murrayfield in the running to host NFL showdown

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Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium is reportedly the front-runner to host a second competitive NFL American football game in Britain next year, with a Sunday night match between September and December the most likely date.

Reports today suggested a delegation from New York were set to inspect facilities and discuss plans to add a second UK date to the NFL calendar following the resounding success of matches at Wembley in London, which has sold out fixtures in each of the last four years.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears agreed to switch their game to London earlier this year, and the transplant of a fixture to Murrayfield would similarly depend upon one top US side sacrificing home advantage. Such a scenario would entail the two competing clubs working with the local community and schools, with teams having traditionally jetted in a week before a Wembley fixture.

The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff is also under consideration, but Murrayfield and the attraction of Edinburgh both for American tourists and NFL fans makes it the prime candidate.

As well as “free” publicity for the city on Stateside television networks and commercial spin-off from gate receipts and merchandising, the boost to local hotels, business and Scottish tourism would be massive.

The NFL first held discussions with Murrayfield representatives about staging a match at the home of Scottish Rugby in January 2008.