RAMS EXTRAS

Rams move a 'home' game to London next 3 seasons

2012-01-20T11:55:00Z 2012-01-27T14:53:04Z Rams move a 'home' game to London next 3 seasonsBY JIM THOMAS stltoday.com
January 20, 2012 11:55 am  • 

Not only are the Rams headed overseas next season. They're crossing the Atlantic the next three seasons.

The NFL announced Friday that the Rams will play the New England Patriots on Oct. 28 at Wembley Stadium in London. Kickoff is noon St. Louis time. The Rams will also play "home" games at Wembley in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

"This is a tremendous honor for our franchise, the city of St. Louis and our fans throughout the world," Rams owner Stan Kroenke said in a statement. "We are excited about the opportunity to reach new audiences globally. This is a great platform to showcase the city of St. Louis to London and the UK." 

But for a fan base already worried about losing the team to Los Angeles because of a stadium lease clause at the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis is now reduced to only seven home games for the next three seasons.

With a team that has won only 15 of its last 80 games, the Rams have struggled to get home games on television in recent seasons. Frequently, they've used corporate sponsors to buy unsold tickets, or in some cases bought the unsold tickets themselves. 

London, of course, is the home of Kroenke’s Arsenal soccer team of the English Premier League.

With the exception of this season, when Chicago played Tampa Bay, all of the previous matchups have featured an NFC team vs. an AFC club.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in October that he had been talking to several teams about becoming regulars in London to help build an overseas following.

Such a development, Goodell said then, would be "very powerful and lead us to what we ultimately would like to do — have a franchise here in London."

Tampa Bay, owned by the Glazer family, has played in London two times in the past three seasons. The Glazers also own Manchester United of the Premier League.

The NFL began playing regular-season games in London in 2007, so this will be the sixth such contest played at Wembley Stadium, which seats 82,000.

The NFL has committed to play at least one regular-season contest there through 2016.

While based in southern California, the Rams played three preseason games overseas --  in London in 1987, in Tokyo in 1989, and in Berlin in 1990. But the 2012 game against New England marks their first regular-season game outside of the United States.

Club seats for the Rams-Patriots game go on sale Jan. 25; general admission seats will be available Feb. 2-3.

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