Tag Archives: gridiron

Minnesota Vikings train with the Yorkshire Vikings

Surely there's more padding than this! NFL stars go into bat with cricketers of Yorkshire

PUBLISHED:

15:15 GMT, 27 March 2013

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UPDATED:

17:54 GMT, 27 March 2013

Yorkshire welcomed a Viking invasion from Minnesota on Wednesday as cricketers and American footballers swapped kit and technique tips at Headingley.

NFL side Minnesota are in Britain on a promotional tour and touched down in Yorkshire for a day of training with the county, who recently settled upon the name 'Vikings' in one-day cricket.

And the gridiron giants were taught the intricacies of the quintessential English summer sport by White Rose stars Liam Plunkett, Phil Jaques and Jack Brooks.

Invasion: (back row left to right) Yorkshire's Liam Plunkett, Phil Jaques and Jack Brooks (all in white) flank Minnesota's Kyle Rudolph while Harrison Smith bats and John Sullivan keeps wicket while two Vikings roar their approval

Invasion: (back row left to right) Yorkshire's Liam Plunkett, Phil Jaques and Jack Brooks (all in white) flank Minnesota's Kyle Rudolph while Harrison Smith bats and John Sullivan keeps wicket while two Vikings roar their approval

Yorkshire and Minnesota

Role reversal: Yorkshire bowler Jack Brooks holds the football while Minnesota centre John Sullivan wields the bat

Role reversal: Yorkshire bowler Jack Brooks holds the football while Minnesota centre John Sullivan wields the bat

Minnesota, who reached the NFL play-offs last year, are promoting the Sky Sports series about them, named Inside the Vikings, which will air on April 3. They are playing Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley in September.

Centre John Sullivan, Tight end Kyle Rudolph and safety Harrison Smith put on a different kind of padding to have a net while the Yorkshire lads donned the helmets and shoulder pads ready for some football.

The Americans seemed to enjoy it and Sullivan tweeted: '@Yorkshireccc Thanks so much for the hospitality'.

Defence: Former England man Liam Plunkett teaches Kyle Rudolph how to bat

Defence: Former England man Liam Plunkett teaches Kyle Rudolph how to bat

Kyle Rudolph went for a bat and Plunkett told the Yorkshire website: 'I was very surprised how good Kyle’s batting was.

'Boy he could hit a ball. He creamed a few times through the covers – he could well be a pinch hitter for the Vikings in this year’s Friends Life t20 competition. He could well follow in the footsteps of another famous Yorkshire player Jacques Rudolph.

'I’m a big American Sports fan and love the NFL. This is a great opportunity to expose cricket to a wider marketing and more importantly Yorkshire Vikings.

'To have high-profile NFL players from the Minnesota Vikings come to our club is a great initiative and gives us some great momentum going into the new season.'

Offence: Kyle Rudolph has a swing

Offence: Kyle Rudolph has a swing

Rudolph added: “I didn’t know much about cricket before coming to Headingley today.

'This is a great tie up between two big sports organisations in Minnesota and Yorkshire. I will certainly be following the Yorkshire team this year, via social media, and hope they have a big season.

'We have been made to feel very welcome and love the Yorkshire hospitality.'

NFL want to beat West Ham to Olympic Stadium Americans

It was the home of Britain's greatest sporting triumphs, now the Mayor is in talks for the Olympic Stadium to be the new London home of America's NFL

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UPDATED:

19:29 GMT, 31 October 2012

The Olympic stadium in Stratford could become the London home of the NFL after talks involving Mayor Boris Johnson.

The ambitious plan is for NFL franchises to become the 'anchor tenant'. It would leave West Ham scuppered in their attempt to turn the East End venue in their new home.

'Sunday’s
game at Wembley, in front of more than 80,000 fans, further cements
London’s reputation as the natural home of American football outside of
the US,' the mayor's spokesman said.

Mayor Boris Johnson is heckled by protestors as he visits Bristol yesterday. West Ham fans may feel the same way about him.

Mayor Boris Johnson is heckled by protestors as he visits Bristol yesterday. West Ham fans may feel the same way about him.

West Ham's bid to take on the tenancy has hit a stumbling block and Johnson – the chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation who operate the stadium – opened talks last weekend when four NFL teams were in London playing regular-season games at Wembley.

A spokesman for Johnson added: 'Given the ever-growing popularity of gridiron this side of the Atlantic the mayor and his team have held a number of meetings with senior executives in the last few days to explore further opportunities for NFL in London.

Up in the air: The future of the Olympic Stadium remains unclear

Up in the air: The future of the Olympic Stadium remains unclear

'The talks were exploratory and we are at an early stage but the signs are encouraging.'

West Ham are also looking to take over the anchor tenancy but the Treasury’s refusal to hand over the 337 million Olympic-contingency underspend to help install retractable seating is hampering their bid.

The retractable seating is expected to cost in the region of 200 million and the Mayor will be expecting any anchor tenant to make a significant contribution.

It is understood West Ham are willing to offer more than 8million a year in rent and related payments in addition to a reported multi-million lump sum.

The club are understood to be unwilling to reveal the true nature of their financial package due to confidentiality issues.

Touchdown: The NFL arrived in London last weekend

Touchdown: The NFL arrived in London last weekend

West Ham also believe that as several other events will be taking place at the Olympic Stadium throughout the next few years – such as the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the 2017 World Athletics Championships – they should not be the sole party asked to foot the bill.

A decision on the future of the stadium was expected to be announced by the end of October but negotiations are ongoing. Other contenders for the stadium tenancy are Leyton Orient, a football business college and a group wanting to host a Formula One race at the Olympic Park.

The NFL proposition is an attractive one as the stadium would only be required up to 10 times per year – compared to up to 25 times a year for football. This would free up time for other events such.

Boris takes to the microphone with opera singer Katherine Jenkins at Wembley on Sunday

Boris takes to the microphone with opera singer Katherine Jenkins at Wembley on Sunday

Boris meets the officials before kick-off between the New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams in London on Sunday

Boris meets the officials before kick-off between the New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams in London on Sunday

Bringing in other sports such as gridiron to the capital on a more regular basis is something that the Mayor's office are keen on exploring.

'Only last week the mayor, in conjunction with the NFL, announced an expansion from one to two regular-season matches in London from 2013. That means in total an additional 44 million in revenue for the capital from next year,' the Mayor’s spokesman added.

NFL want to beat West Ham to Olympic Stadium

West Ham could be pipped to the Olympic Stadium… by the NFL

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UPDATED:

11:47 GMT, 31 October 2012

NFL franchises have entered the running to become the anchor tenant of the Olympic Stadium after talks with London Mayor Boris Johnson were revealed.

West Ham's bid to take on the tenancy has hit a stumbling block and Johnson – the chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation who operate the stadium – opened talks last weekend when four NFL teams were in London playing regular-season games at Wembley.

A spokesman for the Mayor told the Daily Telegraph: 'Given the ever-growing popularity of gridiron this side of the Atlantic the mayor and his team have held a number of meetings with senior executives in the last few days to explore further opportunities for NFL in London.

Up in the air: The future of the Olympic Stadium remains unclear

Up in the air: The future of the Olympic Stadium remains unclear

'The talks were exploratory and we are at an early stage but the signs are encouraging.'

West Ham are also looking to take over the anchor tenancy but the Treasury’s refusal to hand over the 337 million Olympic-contingency underspend to help install retractable seating is hampering their bid.

The retractable seating is expected to cost in the region of 200 million and the Mayor will be expecting any anchor tenant to make a significant contribution.

Despite remaining favourites to take
over the tenancy of the stadium, West Ham are thought to be unwilling to
cough up funds to help convert it into a football-friendly environment,
believing that it should be the responsibility of the landlords and not
the tenants.

Touchdown: The NFL arrived in London last weekend

Touchdown: The NFL arrived in London last weekend

West Ham also believe that as several other events will be taking place at the Olympic Stadium throughout the next few years – such as the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the 2017 World Athletics Championships – they should not be the sole party asked to foot the bill.

A decision on the future of the stadium was expected to be announced by the end of October but negotiations are ongoing. Other contenders for the stadium tenancy are Leyton Orient, a football business college and a group wanting to host a Formula One race at the Olympic Park.

The NFL proposition is an attractive one as the stadium would only be required up to 10 times per year – compared to up to 25 times a year for football. This would free up time for other events such.

In talks: The Mayor's office are keen to keep bringing the sport back to the capital

In talks: The Mayor's office are keen to keep bringing the sport back to the capital

Bringing in other sports such as gridiron to the capital on a more regular basis is something that the Mayor's office are keen on exploring.

'Sunday’s game at Wembley, in front of more than 80,000 fans, further cements London’s reputation as the natural home of American football outside of the US,' the Mayor’s spokesman added.

'Only last week the mayor, in conjunction with the NFL, announced an expansion from one to two regular-season matches in London from 2013. That means in total an additional 44 million in revenue for the capital from next year.'

Edge of the Box: NFL the BIG story.. but one we"ve heard before

American football is a BIG story… but one we've heard many times before

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UPDATED:

09:47 GMT, 29 October 2012

The mothership has landed. Strange creatures, many the size of your average garden shed, emerge in their battle armour. They speak with strange voices, but are all of one mind. They are ready to conquer us all and spread the cult of the gridiron. The NFL is in town.

Which is how the sixth international NFL regular season game was being sold to us over on its main UK stage, Sky Sports.

Which, frankly, is beginning to wear just a little thin with me.

Putting on a show: The band train performed at Wembley as the NFL roadshow rolled into London

Putting on a show: The band train performed at Wembley as the NFL roadshow rolled into London

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

It was thirty years ago that Channel 4 first took the bold leap to bring the NFL to our screens, followed pretty quickly by the sight of legends like Joe Montana and Jerry Rice gracing the turf behind the old Twin Towers in north west London.

Since then the sport has been omnipresent on our tellys, and is serviced every given Sunday by Sky to such an extent that the Atlantic might as well be the Thames in terms of how little distance there is now between us and the sport.

But that sport is also a business. BIG business. And with big business comes the enormous sales pitch.

Thus we had the sight of mercurial New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady – in a Pats bobble hat the size of a two-man tepee –on Sky Sports News, cornered in a press huddle, making sure he stayed on message by referring to his trade as 'American football'.

That was during the week as the build-up to Sunday's match between the Pats and 'home team' St Louis Rams began to go through the gears.

Come game day, it was pedal to metal, starting with the NFL London preview show, recorded in the Rams actual home town.

Here we had host Bianca Westwood being reaaaallly excited about everything from a variety of locations around the city, while the channel's game analyst Neil Reynolds got to put the same questions many, many times to a host of players, so as to garner as many answers along the lines of 'representing the league' and 'spreading the game' as he could.

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with Bianca bubbling away enthusiastically, of course. Nor is Reynolds anything other than a genuinely knowledgeable reporter/pundit.

Glamour game: Cheerleaders entertained the crowd as the St Louis Rams faced the New England Patriots

Glamour game: Cheerleaders entertained the crowd as the St Louis Rams faced the New England Patriots

Perhaps, though, the channel's stalwart host Kevin Cadle summed it up best, for me, when he opened the live coverage with the words 'a Big Event – but something we're very familiar with'.

Now that would have suited me just fine if that had been more the editorial approach.

This was never going to happen, though of course, because that is never how anyone ever goes to Wem-ber-ley. Not least a US sport made from pure, 100 per cent razzamatazz.

So, instead there was even more build-up featuring stock tourist shots of Buck House, Bearskins and Big Ben and the fan rally in Trafalgar Square during which players and coaches got to remind us once again just how excited they were to be here.

Back at Wembley, meanwhile, the entertainment had started. Entertainment of the light variety, that is.

Star man: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led his side to a comfortable victory over the Rams

Star man: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led his side to a comfortable victory over the Rams

Welcome: London Mayor Boris Johnson spoke and Katherine Jenkins sang the national anthem

Welcome: London Mayor Boris Johnson spoke and Katherine Jenkins sang the national anthem

First up, music from a band called Train, which I'm delighted to report, featured a ukulele. I'm going out on a limb here and saying that has to be a first for the NFL.

Then we had the laughs, as Boris Johnson played the latest leg of his 2012 'blonde Michael Mcintyre Comedy Roadshow' .

Taking to the field, microphone in hand, Boris welcomed 'the glorious descendent of rugby union football' before imploring everyone to enjoy what he steadfastly insisted on calling 'the match'.

However, perhaps the best line of the night went to one of the US commentary team.

As the camera panned around the fans during the second quarter, former New York Jets QB Phil Simms managed to damn yet another sell out NFL crowd with faint praise by informing us that after all these years of practise, 'they're cheering at the right time now'.

We still can't spell 'nite' and 'center' properly though, Phil.

Different ball game: Wembley lived the American dream as the NFL arrived in England

Different ball game: Wembley lived the American dream as the NFL arrived in England

In the great NFL scheme of things, this blowout game for The Pats was in reality just another in the season schedule and once Sky completed its double header of games, it was back to where it all started for us over here, on Channel 4, for their live game programme.

With Nat Combs – a genuine fan who does a great job of being their 'voice', too – as host and evergreen expert Mike Carlson providing the insight, this show does its business in a more low key, studied way than Sky.

This was reflected in their round up of the NFL's trip to London, with not a ukulele in sight, and coach Bill Belichick moaning about the traffic, Tom Brady the rain.

Equally, where the drum was being banged constantly on Sky for the idea that the UK would have its own NFL team sooner rather than later, Mike's take on the matter was that there will be 'a team in LA before they have a team in London'.

Aha! Hollywood. Now they DO know how to put the show in business.

Manchester United shares to trade at huge discount

United for sale at discount price! Red Devils' shares to trade for half a billion less than planned

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UPDATED:

09:35 GMT, 10 August 2012

Manchester United shares will start trading in New York on Friday at a big discount on the club's earlier expectations over its worth.

United's advisers will offer a 10% stake at a price of 14 US dollars (9), valuing it at around 1.5billion, but much lower than the range of 16 to 20 US dollars (10-12) it had hoped to achieve, worth up to 2.1billion.

The club, bought by the Glazer family in 2005 for about 800million, will raise about 233 million US dollars (149million) and this will be partly used to pay off some of its debt.

Say what Manchester United shares will go for less than first planned

Say what Manchester United shares will go for less than first planned

The lower flotation price comes after the Glazer family, which also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL gridiron team, previously failed to garner sufficient support to sell shares on exchanges in Hong Kong and Singapore.

However, United, which claims to have a global fanbase of about 660million and has won a record 19 league titles, is still one of the world's most valuable sports teams.

Its shares will begin trading today under the stock market ticker Manu.

Richard Hunter, head of UK equities at Hargreaves Lansdown stockbrokers, said the lowering of the flotation price was 'disappointing but not unexpected'.

He added: 'As was the case with the UK experience, football clubs are notoriously difficult investments, ultimately tied to the fortunes of the club on the pitch. However, interest in the sport is taking off in the US and last night's Olympics victory for the women's football team is likely to fuel interest further.'

It had been expected that the Glazers would make about 90million from the deal, with the remaining proceeds raised in the initial public offering (IPO) used to pay down some of the 134-year-old club's debt, which was last reported to be around 423 million.

Although the listing has been planned for some time, the Glazer family originally claimed all the proceeds would go towards paying down United's debt, angering fans.

A successful IPO would reportedly result in investors owning 42% of the shares available but only carrying voting rights of 1.3%.

Earlier this month, a leading Manchester United fans' group called for a boycott of the club's expanding portfolio of sponsors in protest at the planned flotation.

A statement from the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) read: 'The Manchester United Supporters Trust has today called for a worldwide boycott of Manchester United sponsors' products, with support across the UK, Europe, Asia and the US.

'The boycott strategy is intended to send a loud and clear message to the Glazer family and club sponsors that, without the support and purchasing power of the fans, the global strength of the Manchester United brand doesn't actually exist.'

MUST has tried such tactics before during the Glazer regime, although it has not prevented the Red Devils' territory-specific approach allowing them to become the first club to smash through the annual 100million barrier for commercial revenue alone.