A European NFL division? Chiefs CEO says it could happen - KCTV5

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A European NFL division? Chiefs CEO says it could happen

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Following the death of his father in 2006, Clark Hunt, his sister, and two brothers inherited ownership of the Chiefs. Following the death of his father in 2006, Clark Hunt, his sister, and two brothers inherited ownership of the Chiefs.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Clark Hunt is not a sports talk radio caller or just another guy, he's the Chiefs Chairman and CEO, so when he talks about NFL overseas expansion, you should listen.

"It's something the league's very focused on," Hunt told KCTV5 News. And the Chiefs head man is not just another NFL owner.

"I'm the chair of the International Committee at the NFL, so I've been a part of these discussions, and over the last seven or eight years, the league has really grown the number of games (in London.)"

The league currently plays three games a year at London's Wembley Stadium, and Hunt says that number might go up.

"I think in the near future it will grow to four," he said. And the NFL is also considering staging games in other countries, like Mexico.

But, Mr. Hunt said the league is thinking bigger- much bigger.

"I could certainly look down the road and see the league, maybe not only having a team, but teams based in Europe," he told KCTV5 NEWS THIS MORNING anchor Rob Finnerty in an exclusive one-on-one interview.

"You could even envision a division that's based over there," Hunt said. "That would help with some of the travel dynamics."

An NFL division based overseas? The Chiefs CEO said it could happen.

"The NFL realizes, that to grow, we've got to look beyond the U.S."

Hunt witnessed first-hand how rabid NFL fans are in London this past autumn, as his Chiefs beat the Lions at Wembley Stadium.

"That was one of the great things about that experience," he told Finnerty. "I was impressed, not only while at the stadium, but during my time in the city, how much passion there was for the National Football League."

While expansion talks are not imminent, Hunt says they're closer than you might think.

"I think a decade is probably realistic," he said. "It'll be seriously evaluated, and either a go or no-go decision will be made on it."

Multiple European teams could lead to weeks-long road trips, with a team playing a game in London, then traveling to Europe for a game against another international franchise. While it would be revolutionary for American football, it's not unlike what top-level pro soccer teams do around the world.

One thing Hunt is certain about: the potential fan base.

"You saw a lot of jerseys from all the teams in the NFL (in London), not only on game day, but throughout our stay there," he said. "So I think there's a great fan base there and I think there's an appreciation for the game."

So, perhaps the term World Champions will someday take on a whole new meaning.

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