"I think the message is very clear. We've got passionate fans that love the NFL in the UK," said Goodell. This is the first year in which the NFL has attempted to host multiple games in London, and the success in selling out both so long before they are due to take place is viewed in league offices as a powerful indication of the market's strength.
It had been known for a few weeks that there were no tickets left for the higher-profile game, between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings on 29 September. The second game, between the San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars on 27 October, had been viewed as a less attractive match-up. Although the 49ers are playing in this weekend's Super Bowl, Jacksonville won just two games this season and have not been to the playoffs since 2007.
"We're always asking what is the next step after two games," said Goodell. "Do we move to three, do we try something else? How do we continue to celebrate the growth of the game in the UK? But I think from the positive reaction from the fans, that our ownership understands that this is a market in which we need to be more active."
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