By Josh Katzowitz
With Rams owner Stan Kroenke also owning the English Premier Leagues’ Arsenal soccer team, a date in London to play the NFL’s annual international game certainly makes sense. And St. Louis players had better get used to it, because not only will they face the Patriots in 2012, but the Rams also have signed up to play in London in 2013 and 2014.
That’s the word from the team, which also reports that next year’s game will occur Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. ET (6 p.m. local time).
The Rams will be the home team in 2012, meaning they’ll lose a game at the Edward Jones Dome.
“This is a tremendous honor for our franchise, the city of St. Louis and our fans throughout the world,” Kroenke said in a statement. “We are excited about the opportunity to reach new audiences globally. This is a great platform to showcase the city of St. Louis to London and the UK.
“We’ve seen first-hand the increased popularity of the NFL not only in London but throughout Europe. To play a role in that growth over the next three years will be incredible and is a testament to the many good things happening not only in the NFL but also in the St. Louis Rams organization.”
[RELATED: Is playing in London a good idea for a team intent on winning the second half of the season?]
As the St. Louis Post Dispatch points out, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in October that he wanted to see a few teams becoming regulars in London (the Buccaneers, for example, have been twice already, and next year will mark New England's second trip across the Atlantic) so they could begin to build a following in Europe.
That would be “very powerful and lead us to what we ultimately would like to do -- have a franchise here in London,” Goodell said.
The NFL is contracted to play at least one regular-season contest in London through 2016.
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