Playing American Sports Overseas Needs To Stop

By Ben Grimaldi
Paul Cunningham-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks and the Detroit Pistons just played an NBA game in London, England. This comes after a few months ago when the NFL invaded Wembley Stadium to have an ‘American’ football game between the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams. There was also the MLB season starting in Japan last year. That’s three major US sports being played on foreign soil in the past few months, and it needs to stop!

I can’t stand the professional sports leagues going overseas and playing somewhere else. I don’t understand the appeal of bringing games to England or any other country that isn’t a part of our professional landscape. First of all it takes away a game from somebody’s home team, and the travel can mess up a team’s internal clock and affect them in games after they return.

Those are trivial matters, but the biggest thing I don’t understand is why do these leagues continue to do it? The NBA is already a global league, and even though the NBA doesn’t have many professional basketball players from London, who cares? David Stern has talked about the potential for seeing an NBA team be based in Europe, but I can’t see it happening. How would the travel schedule work?  More importantly, how would the team survive financially?

I know the people in Europe may love seeing a few games there from time to time, but it seems like more of a novelty than a viable idea. The same goes for the NFL – if people overseas wanted to have an ‘American’ football team so badly, they would play the sport a lot more than they do. Right now, their football is called soccer, and it’s extremely popular. That’s why when I see NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other NFL owners talking about a franchise overseas, I laugh. They like the idea and novelty of it all but in reality, they would rather watch, or play, soccer.

I really dislike the way these professional sports take the game away from the people they claim they are playing for. Regular NFL and NBA fans can barely afford to go to games in their own city, never mind going to London, England to see a game. I realize it’s more about promoting the game globally, but does anyone really think playing a game or two overseas makes a big difference? I don’t – I just see it as an annoyance.

The sooner the major US sports stop playing games overseas the better. That way, everyone can give up the dream of having a professional franchise on any other soil rather than the good old United States of America.

you can contact or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi

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