Boris Johnson and the CEO of Visit London, James Bidwell will host a gala dinner on Thursday to welcome the return of the National Football League to London. The league is returning to the capital following London’s successful hosting last year of the first ever regular season game to be held outside the Americas.
This year fans will have the chance to see the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints go head-to-head on Sunday (26 October) in London’s iconic Wembley Stadium.
Tonight’s dinner will also be attended by over one hundred leading business figures and sporting celebrities and will also mark the launch of The Economist ‘Global Sports Summit which will take place tomorrow. Organisers say the summit “will bring together the most powerful global community of senior sports leaders, who are setting the agenda for the international sports industry.”
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s dinner, Mayor of London Boris Johnson said the return of the NFL proved the capital “is right up there amongst the top cities in the world to host top international sporting events.”
Highlighting London’s established social infrastructure the Mayor commented: “We can provide world-class Olympic training facilities, we have world-class theatre and culinary offerings and more importantly, we have the hunger to improve on this reputation. That is why Events for London is now tasked with bringing even more Olympic and non-Olympic sports to the city. The message is clear: sporting bodies will find us an open, accessible and equally importantly, a welcoming city.”
The Mayor’s comments were echoed by Alistair Kirkwood, Managing Director of NFL UK, who said the League’s return “is a tribute to the great partnership we have developed with the city.”
“The teams who came over last year had a fantastic experience and enjoyed excellent hospitality from the people of London. With both the Saints and Chargers being here for the whole week of game this year, demands have been higher, but all the facilities, venues and organisations we are working with are doing their bit to ensure that we have another very successful event.”