BUCCANEERS and BEARS SET TO PLAY IN LONDON IN 2011
Complete NFL schedule to be announced tomorrow -- Tuesday, April 19 at 7:00 P.M. ET on NFL Network and NFL.com
The game will be played on Sunday, October 23 at Wembley Stadium in London at 1 p.m. ET (6 p.m. UK time). FOX will provide live television coverage in the United States. Live coverage in the UK will air on Sky Sports and BBC Radio, with highlights on BBC TV.
The full 2011 NFL schedule will be announced tomorrow -- Tuesday, April 19, at 7 p.m. ET -- on NFL Network and NFL.com.
"Our past four games in London have demonstrated the tremendous passion for NFL football that exists in the UK," said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. "We hope by staging another extraordinary game at Wembley that we can continue to grow our existing fan base and attract even more new fans."
The game will mark the fifth Pepsi Max International Series contest and feature two teams with championship aspirations. The Buccaneers finished last season at 10-6, led by one of the league's most dynamic young rosters with seemingly unlimited potential. Tampa Bay, who capped the 2002 season with a win in Super Bowl XXXVII, is no stranger to the international scene, having played a regular-season game in London in 2009 against the New England Patriots. The Tampa Bay region has also played host to four Super Bowls.
"We are honored to be selected to participate in the NFL International Series for a second time," said Buccaneers co-chairman BRYAN GLAZER. "We are looking forward to promoting Tampa Bay's emerging young team on the world stage. We have the longest running fan club of any NFL team in the UK and look forward to seeing so many familiar faces from the Bucs UK fan club at the game."
The Bears reached the NFC Championship Game last season and aim to advance one game further in 2011. One of the league's most historic franchises, the nine-time NFL champions helped introduce the sport to a UK audience in the mid-1980s. As the reigning Super Bowl XX champs, the Bears played a preseason game at Wembley on August 3, 1986, the first of the American Bowl series of games designed to introduce American football to fans around the world.
"To return to London to play an NFL game -- this is going to be fun," said Chicago Bears Chairman MICHAEL MCCASKEY. "I remember how enthusiastic the fans were in 1986 when we played in Wembley Stadium and defeated the Dallas Cowboys. London fans were so welcoming and blended their traditions of singing soccer songs with the NFL-style of presenting games. Of course the Chicago Bears are very pleased to have been named the 'Team of the Year' by UK fans following the 2010 season. So we are looking forward to facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in October and playing in person before our terrific fans in the UK and Europe."
Should the current labor situation be unresolved by August 1, the game will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Buccaneers season ticket holders will receive detailed ticket information from the club in the near future regarding team ticketing policy for this game.
For fans planning to attend the game, a "registry of interest" will be launched later this week at www.nfluk.com. Those registered will be first in line for the opportunity to purchase tickets and, based on demand for previous London games, registration is recommended.
"Continuing London's love affair with the hugely popular stateside sport, we are proud to once again welcome two of America's top NFL teams to the capital," says BORIS JOHNSON, Mayor of London. "With a growing local fan base, it is a fantastic opportunity for enthusiasts from London and beyond to experience the unique thrill of a live game in one of the most iconic sports venues around, Wembley Stadium."
The NFL has played four regular-season games in the UK, all before sellout crowds at Wembley Stadium.
The first saw the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins 13-10 on Oct. 28, 2007. Over the past three seasons, the San Francisco 49ers beat the Denver Broncos 24-16 on Oct. 31, 2010; the New England Patriots beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35-7 in 2009; and the New Orleans Saints beat the San Diego Chargers 37-32 on Oct. 26, 2008.