Co-chairman and former owner of the San Francisco 49ers, John York, has been speaking to the British media about the 49ers upcoming game at Wembley Stadium.
San Francisco will play the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 27 in London and York’s primary reason for visiting the UK was to talk about the upcoming game.
He suggested there’s strong potential for an NFL franchise based in London in the future, and a few interesting soccer tidbits came from Mr. York’s interview too.
First of all, he was asked about the recent influx of American owners in the Premier League and if San Francisco would ever consider buying a PL team.
“I don’t know that we would not,” York said. And the former owner, whose son Jed is now the 49ers Team President and Owner, said no deals have been initiated. “We have not done so thus far, but it could be an interesting opportunity.”
(MORE: A quick look back at why Fulham FC have long been known as “Fulhamerica”)
So, in true PR style, York somewhat dodged the question. But he did go on to explain that owning a Premier League franchise is an extremely viable opportunity and didn’t rule it out.
“I think it depends on the individuals and the opportunities that exist. I’m sure that there will be other people [NFL owners] interested in the Premier League franchises if they are ever available,” York said. “There are tremendous opportunities, it is a great sport and has a broader attention than American Football does outside of the United States.”
However any potential 49ers owned Premier League side will have to go on the back burner right now, as the co-chairman insisted that all of San Francisco’s focus is on opening their new $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara.
And he also had some words on new Fulham owner Shahid Khan too. “He’s an interesting person,” York said. “He’s got a lot of enthusiasm, he’s been a hardworking man throughout his life and has made a small fortune in his own business. He loves sport and he is new to the NFL as well as being new to football in the UK. “
(MORE: Shahid Khan is American, bought Fulham, probably not the end of English soccer)
As York was non-committal on San Francisco buying a Premier League franchise, his positive words on the league and the pluses behind owning a PL team were numerous and it seems as though the NFL owners and American businessmen are increasingly looking to England’s top tier for investment opportunities. Six American owners and counting.
Whether that’s a good or bad thing remains to be seen. But as the money continues to pour in from all over the globe, expected plenty more NFL owners to be answering more questions like this in the future.