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NFL to play 3 games in London in 2014

The SportsXchange

The NFL will play three regular-season games at London's Wembley Stadium next year, hosted by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders -- the most games the league has played abroad in one year.

This season, the Minnesota Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in September. Jacksonville will host the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 27 as part of the Jaguars' four-year commitment to move a home game to Wembley.

Dates and times of the games will be announced when the schedule is compiled next year.

The Raiders and Falcons never have played a regular-season game at Wembley. The Jaguars' first appearance will be when they face the 49ers.

Announced during the owners meeting Tuesday in Washington, D.C., NFL commissioner Roger Goodell pointed to the increased popularity of the international series as the reason for the addition of a third game.

"Our fans in the UK have continued to demonstrate that they love football and want more," Goodell said. "Both of this year's games in London sold out quickly. The fan enthusiasm for our sport continues to grow. By playing two games in the UK this year, we are creating more fans. We hope that with three games in London next year we will attract even more people to our game."

The Vikings' 34-27 victory over the Steelers drew a crowd of more than 83,000 to Wembley. Roughly 520,000 attended a football festival on London's famed Regent Street the day before the game.

Atlanta's trip to the UK will mark the first time in the club's 47-year history that it has played in London. The Falcons played a preseason game in Tokyo, Japan in 2000 and 2005, defeating the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts, respectively, at the Tokyo Dome.

"We are excited and honored to serve as ambassadors for our city, our state, and the National Football League," said Falcons owner and chairman Arthur M. Blank. "Playing in London will provide tremendous exposure to our team, as well as provide the opportunity to showcase the great international city of Atlanta. We are looking forward to representing the NFL on a global stage by playing in historic Wembley Stadium in what we are sure will be an entertaining game for NFL fans everywhere."
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