History of American Sports in London

Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; General view of the British and United States flags on the field during the playing of the national anthem before Game 12 of the NFL International Series between the New York Jets against the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Congrats to London for getting so many live American sports games the last few years. But apologies that the most represented NBA team has been the New York Knicks and the most represented NFL team is the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Let’s take a look at the history of each of America’s four major sports and their history playing games in London

NBA in London

The NBA returned to London in 2019 for the ninth regular-season game in London. It was the third time the Knicks have traveled across the Atlantic – following their loss to the Wizards, they are now 1-2 in London games.

There’s been a few pre-season games played in London, dating back to 1993 but the first regular season game took place in 2011 between the Raptors and Nets. The Knicks first appeared in 2013, beating the Pistons, and again in 2015, losing to the Bucks. The first five London games featured either the Knicks or Nets, before 2016 when the Magic played the Raptors.

NFL in London

NFL played their first London game in 2007, Giants vs Dolphins. Since than, Jaguars have played the most games (6) and Dolphins and Raiders have both played (4). Poor Brits….imagine YAY FOOTBALL, ugh Jaguars.

From 2007-2012, 1 game a year in London. It increased to 2 in 2013, 3 in 2014-2015 and 4 games in 2016-2018. It’s expected to be 4 games again in 2019.

Shockingly, the Patriots have the best record in London, at 3-0. Four teams are 2-0 (Giants, 49ers, Saints, Vikings). Six teams are 1-0 and ten teams are 0-1. The Bucs are the only team to play multiple games and never win (0-2). In 2016, the Bengals and the Redskins tied.

NHL in London

In September 2007, the first regular season games were played, featuring the Ducks and the Kings. The Ducks brought the Stanley Cup they won the prior season with them overseas.

Other than that, the only London NHL games have been exhibition/pre-season. 1938, the Red Wings and Canadians became the first. London was one stop in a 10 city, 23 game European tour between the Rangers and Bruins in 1959. Blackhawks and Canadians played at Wembley Arena in 1992. And the Rangers kicked off their last Stanley Cup winning season, by playing the Maple Leafs in a pre-season game in 1993.

MLB in London

MLB will cross overseas in the summer of 2019, with a series between the Yankees and Red Sox this June It will be the first time MLB teams have played in Europe.

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Mike is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and an alum of the University of Cincinnati.

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