Blog: UK Franchise Locations


London is widely considered as the most likely destination for a franchise outside of the US, with multiple executives even predicting a franchise as soon as 2022, though these predictions were made before the 2020 pandemic shut things down. London is the largest city in the UK as well as being one of the largest cities in the world economically and having a large media market. But London represents 23% of the UKs economy making it oversaturated economically compared to other areas of the UK. This for me makes the idea of a London NFL franchise a boring one, with London already having multiple large Football teams as well as playing host to the England national teams for Rugby and Football. For me putting the franchise somewhere else in the UK that has both cheaper real estate for stadiums and train facilities as well as has a local economy that could be shaped by the franchise, is a more appealing option. Though I understand that for the corporate NFL that is thinking about money and brand expansion a ready-made London market and infrastructure is infinitely more appealing.

I have instead decided that I would like to focus on St Helens as potential location for a UK based franchise. St Helens is the town I’ve grown up in and in my opinion has some very compelling selling points. St Helens has routes dating back to the 16th century when it was a collection of smaller townships, but gradually grew and became a town of its own. St Helens became a significant place for coal mining town as well as a glass making industry, this helped grow St Helens as a place. The growth was also helped by its connections with Liverpool and its port, through road networks and canals Liverpool provided a great market for St Helens’ goods and industry. But like a lot of mining towns, in the latter part of the 20th century St Helens lost its mining industry and this caused the loss of other industries as the local economy struggled. The diminished industry combined with recent struggles on the Highstreet means that St Helens’ local economy has declined and like towns across the UK struggles with poverty and a poor economy. St Helens is part of the modern county of Merseyside which it shares with Liverpool as well as other small towns, this has meant that it has maintained a strong connection with Liverpool. The Northwest of England that includes Merseyside as well as a larger area is one of the most deprived areas in the country with Liverpool and Knowsley ranking as two of the most deprived local authorities nationally.

Although it has struggled in recent years and sits in a struggling Northwest, St Helens is in a very advantageous location. It sits between the two large cities of Manchester and Liverpool easily accessible by train or car. It is surrounded by major motorways including the M6 as major artery of the UK. It’s close connection to Liverpool means it has goo transport routes with the city that has a small international airport. The location of St Helens combined with the possibilities for it economically means that it could be a good location for a new tourism attraction like an NFL franchise.

St Helens also hosts a very successful Rugby team, the St Helens Saints, which have as of 2021 is the most successful club in the league’s history, having just won the title three years in a row and looking favourites for a fourth. This proves that the town can support and foster a competitive team. The Saints also provides the opportunity to better integrate a new NFL franchise into the local community through collaboration and the similarities between the two sports. The physicality of the sport as well as the playoffs format of the Super League Rugby could grow interest to the similarly physical NFL and its playoffs. I think although the NFL would never consider a small place like St Helens as a destination for a franchise as it lacks the large media market and economy that the NFL looks for. In theory it could be a good destination for a franchise and allow an NFL franchise to grow alongside a town and community instead of competing with other well established teams and communities like in a over saturated London.

St Helens Saints , Photo From https://www.saintsrlfc.com/club/history/


About

I’m Aidan Moore, a Graphic Design student at University Centre St Helens.

Contact

Any questions or queries, get in touch in the following ways.

amooredesign@outlook.com

Location

Based in St Helens, Merseyside, UK

close-alt close collapse comment ellipsis expand gallery heart lock menu next pinned previous reply search share star