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As of the 31st of March, Alistair Kirkwood will step down as Managing Director of NFL UK, ending a stint spanning two decades. Following his joining the league in 2000, Kirkwood has been a key part of bringing 28 NFL regular-season games to London as well as an exponential increase in the number of fans and viewers in the UK. 

Throughout his time as the Managing Director, the crowning achievements of Alistair’s tenure has been the arrival of yearly NFL games coming to London. Starting with just one game at Wembley Stadium in 2007 game, which has now evolved into multiple games a year, in three Stadiums including the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium, the first purpose-built one outside of the USA. 31 of the 32 NFL franchises have now made a trip to London for a regular-season game. As well as the growth of the UK games, Kirkwood has overseen an incredible growth in viewership with figures of up to 20 Million unique television viewers per season. 

Kirkwood has also been influential in setting up the NFL’s International Player Pathway Programme, which has given Athletes from outside the USA a chance at intense training then placement on NFL practice squads. The programme has been responsible for players such as Australia’s Jordan Mailata (Philadelphia Eagles) and Germany’s Jakob Johnson (New England Patriots) as well as Gridiron Hub favourite and the UK’s very own Efe Obada (Carolina Panthers) and as we know Obada has recently signed with the Buffalo Bills for his 3rd year as a pro. 

Another part of the NFL UK programme to begin during Alistair’s time as Managing Director is the introduction of a Flag Football programme that now reaches more than 20,000 children every year as well as the establishment of the ground-breaking NFL Academy, which offers a combination of education and American Football to student-athletes aged 16-19. 

The NFL’s UK business will now be led by Brett Gosper, who has joined the league as head of UK and Europe after a nine-year stint as chief executive of World Rugby.

We would like to congratulate Alistair on his time as MD and all his success in making the game much more accessible to the Fans in the UK. As well as all his input into the programmes around the UK helping to grow the game. 

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