Last Sunday Marcel Schmid was at Wembley to watch the New England Patriots play the St Louis Rams. Nothing remarkable in that you may think, some 84,000 others were also there as NFL made its annual foray outside its homeland in an effort to reach a worldwide audience.
But for Schmid, chairman of the International Football Arena (IFA), it provided renewed focus for one of the themes that will dominate this year's conference in Zurich on November 12-13. This is a subject that has often puzzled him: how do NFL teams get more out of their sport despite playing a lot fewer matches than most British or European club football teams?
Schmid readily admits he has no great attachment to America's national sport. "I do not find the game very appealing. But what is fascinating is they have a much shorter season, 18 competitive matches in a season. Imagine how many competitive matches Chelsea or Manchester United have in a season: 60/70. These teams have something like 35 home games, NFL teams have just nine."