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Tampa Bay Buccaneers may consider annual game in London

LONDON — General manager Mark Dominik said Friday the Bucs will not relocate to London, but he wasn't prepared to rule out a scenario where the team could play an annual game at Wembley Stadium.

The NFL has expressed an interest in playing two games per year in London and there is speculation that at least one team may be asked to commit to playing a "home" game in London every season.

The Bucs have volunteered to move a home game to Wembley Stadium twice in the past three years and the Glazer family also owns Manchester United.

While Dominik says he has not had those discussions with ownership, he didn't necessarily believe playing a game in London each year would be a competitive disadvantage.

"I can't sit there and say honestly that I've had those discussions with anybody, quite truthfully," Dominik said. "What I can do is say this team is not going to relocate from Tampa and move to London, emphatically. We're the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and I do know that for a fact. I know there's been some hearing, some rumbling on Pro Football Talk or anywhere else saying some day we may relocate. We're very happy being the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and we will be going forward.

"I think as an organization, if it gets to the point where they talk about putting a team here one game each season on a consistent basis, certainly at that point it will be (a discussion), but right now I've never heard and certainly have never had a conversation about that being us, so I think right now it's speculation but we've obviously been speculated because we've been here two of the last three years."

Would it create a competitive disadvantage for the Bucs?

"I think once we get to that bridge, we'll cross it," Dominik said. "But I would say it's an hour and a half difference than a west coast trip and I do like the way we've actually approached it this year versus two seasons ago. I think it helped our team prepare to play, not only Chicago but in Wembley and so I do think this is actually a good experience for our football team."

The Bucs will travel more than 14,000 miles the second quarter of the season alone. But Dominik said west coast teams such as Seattle, Oakland, San Francisco and San Diego deal with that every season.

"I would look at the Seattle Seahawks and how much they have to fly each year," Dominik said. "It is what it is. No matter where they're located, they're going to have to fly a lot of hours. They have to. And when they do East Coast games, that's as long as it gets. So I think there's a little misnomer there in terms of miles."

While Dominik says he's had no discussions with the Bucs owners about playing an annual game in London, he knows it might not be popular with the team's fan base if it meant sacrificing a home game.

"I can understand the fans reaction to possibly losing a home game …" Dominik said. "I haven't spoken to the ownership about it once."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers may consider annual game in London 10/21/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 21, 2011 10:12am]
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