Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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Can an NFL team work in London?

Posted by: Jim Souhan under Football on TV, Vikings coaches Updated: September 30, 2013 - 5:50 AM

Waiting for my flight home with Strib photographer Carlos Gonzalez, wondering whether the NFL really could work in London.

I think it would work in terms of fan support and television ratings, because London is immense and there have to be sane people in the UK who would realize how much more spectacular the NFL is than soccer and cricket.

The real question fo rme is how it would work logistically. If by the end of the decade, when the NFL would like to place a team in London, it would require a 12-hour flight to travel from Seattle or San Diego to London, then this is untenable.

If flight travel quickens and improves, so that large men don't get off a plane feeling like they've been beaten with hammers, everything else falls into place.

For most of the week, I didn't see any signs or hear any buzz about the game, and the major news outlets largely ignored the NFL. That can change quickly, though, if London has a home team and starts developing decent television ratings.

What won't change without improved air travel is the willingness of NFL players to play in London.

Then again, no premier free agents want to play in Jacksonville, either.

I tend to believe that the NFL will find a way to make this a success. It's not exactly a risky market. It's huge and Engilsh-speaking and not that far from New York.

It's usually a mistake to give people in sports too much credit, but I have to believe that the NFL's research indicates that a team in London would eventually thrive. This league does know what it's doing when it comes to marketing and maximizing television revenues.

Personally, I love London. It's huge but never overwhelming. You never have here that sense you get in New York ,where you feel claustrophobic because of all the skyscrapers. It's more like Boston or San Francisco, filled with quaint buildings and beautiful architecture in the context of a major city.

Heading home now to find out Gardenhire's fate, cover the Wild opener and catch up with the Lynx.

Thanks for reading our coverage from London, and please check out Carlos' many great photos on startribune.com.


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