Colts Fans Overseas Talk Game In London This Season

Intro: Earlier this offseason, Colts.com contacted a handful of Colts fans that live in England. What are their thoughts on the Colts coming to play in Wembley Stadium this October?

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INDIANAPOLIS – One named his daughter after Peyton Manning.

One was born in Indiana, but has kept his Colts' fandom alive since moving to England at the age of 12.

All are like a kid on Christmas morning waiting for the Colts to come over to London this October.

Earlier this offseason, Colts.com caught up with a handful of Colts' fans that reside overseas.

We wanted to hear from them on how they became fans of the Horseshoe, their anticipation for the Colts/Jaguars game in London this year, how they watch the Colts overseas and what the team's brand is like overseas.

Safe to say the excitement level is quite high.

Marc Beaton (Newcastle, England)

How long have you been a Colts fan and why did you become a fan?

"I've been a Colts fan really since 2004. I still remember watching my first ever NFL game. The Colts were at Detroit, I was brand new to the NFL and didn't really understand the rules at that point but I saw this Peyton Manning guy, absolutely clinical throwing 6 touchdowns and I was awestruck. It was a little bit more difficult back then to follow any given team so I was still a casual fan and because of the TV coverage at the time I watched different teams every week but my favorite team to watch became the Colts and I think most of the credit for that went to watching guys like Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison at first because they were so exciting with the plays they made. But when I watched more and understood the game more I gravitated more towards Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis for the special plays they made seemingly week in week out. The Colts leaving the playoffs in 2005 against the Steelers was when I really started to become less of a casual fan and more of a diehard as being able to watch games online made it easier for fans on this side of the pond to commit to being a fan of a franchise or the NFL in general. Fast-forward to now and I never miss a Colts game. I came for the awesome things I saw when I didn't really understand the game but I stayed for the Colts attitude to the game. The three biggest moments that really define the shoe for me are the AFC Title game in 2006, the game against the Patriots in the 2009 season with the 4th and 2, and the Wild Card game against the Chiefs in 2013. The Colts are never beaten until they're beaten and the team will always keep fighting when others might give up so they're always a pleasure to watch."

What was your initial reaction when you heard the Colts were coming to Wembley?

"I remember being at work that day and my phone started vibrating wildly in my pocket, so when I got on my break I checked and had a ton of messages from friends telling me the Colts were coming to Wembley. If I'm totally honest, I kind of had a feeling the Colts would come to Wembley soon as Andrew Luck had been interviewed and featured on Sky Sports here and he always talks about how much he loved his time in Europe as well as his love of the Premier League, so I'd be interested to see how much lobbying Andrew did to get the UK game! I just remember being excited to be honest. I've been to see other teams in the UK and was kind of worried that the Colts would never come here so the opportunity to attend a regular season game is something I just won't miss."


What is the support like for the Colts over there?

"To be totally honest it's hard for me to say. Because there's no NFL team in the UK, there's no one team that has a huge following because they're not here so I guess it's kind of like American fans of the Premier League. I think us Brits tend to pick an NFL team to follow based on the first teams they saw (Super Bowl winners are usually popular) or because of liking a cultural reference (I know a guy who follows the Eagles because he likes a Philly cheese steak and if I'd have done similar I'd have considered Seattle for the music) so I don't personally know any other Colts fans here because they're spread out but I suspect Colts fans across the UK will meet up in October. I think because we're following from afar we pick different teams and everyone who picks a team becomes a fan of the NFL overall and that forms the community we see at the moment. One of my good friends is a Patriots fan (I know, I know) and another of my good friends is a Jets fan, while my old boss is a Saints fan, so I think that'll be the most interesting thing for any Colts fans looking to make the trip, the way we follow different teams but make up this vibrant community of fans passionate about the sport."

Are you able to watch Colts games each week? If so, do you do it with other Colts fans?

"I think that as an NFL fan in the UK, we're kind of spoiled. We get all the prime time games on TV as well as the pick of the early and late games at 6pm and 9pm (1ET and 4ET) so we get really good coverage and on top of that with NFL Game Pass we can watch any game we like live. With this it's really easy to watch every Colts game because we can choose what to watch on Game Pass or catch them on TV if they're in a prime time slot. This also lets us watch other teams if we're in a late slot, which is what I think leads us to become fans of the NFL as much as fans of a team (at this point in the offseason I'd kill to watch the first quarter of a preseason game between Cleveland and Tennessee, but I digress). Again because we're so spread out I don't get the opportunity to watch with Colts fans. Everyone I know who follows the NFL likes a different team so when we do get together there's usually a lot of different jerseys in the room. But I like it this way because I enjoy the rivalries. Me and some friends also run a fantasy league between us so I think the fan experience here is a lot like it would be in the US with the only difference here being that everyone's support is kind of varied between teams."


How much are you looking forward to the Colts playing in London?

"Normally at this point of the year I'm excited because football is so close and I can't wait for the season to start. But this year there's like an extra level of excitement that comes along with being able to see my Colts on the field so it's really hard to put it into words but it's a little dampened recently as I've just lost my job so money is super tight. That being said the Jags are the home team so the neutrals will be Jacksonville fans and if I missed it I wouldn't be able to forgive myself, so I'll be there to make noise for the Colts and lead the chants but it's up to the fans to show up and make themselves heard for the 'Shoe! I think the Colts will love the experience and be pleasantly surprised by the Wembley atmosphere. I wouldn't be surprised to see them come back in future and I'll be sure to turn up if and when they do. Go horseshoe!"

Oliver Boulton (Northampton, England)

How long have you been a Colts fan and why did you become a fan?

"I've been a Colt's fan since about as long as I can remember. I have English parents but I was born in Indiana, so I am a Hoosier. I've lived in England since I was 12 years old though, so I have had to follow the Colts from across the pond for the last 14 years."

What was your initial reaction when you heard the Colts were coming to Wembley?

"I knew it was a possibility that the Colts might eventually get a game over here because of the Jags playing over here every year. I have been hoping that it would happen since that Jags - London deal was announced. When I heard it was finally going to happen I think I sent a message into the Colts Mailbag to thank God and let everyone know I was going! I haven't ever had the chance to see the Colts live, so to say I was excited is an understatement!"


What is the support like for the Colts over there?

"I would say the support for the Colts is pretty strong compared to other NFL franchises over here. Annoyingly, I'd say a large proportion of the fans over here are Patriots fans as well though. About 14 years ago in the early 2000's, I'd say hardly any of my friends here knew anything about the NFL outside of who Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were, which might explain why the Colts and Patriots have a larger fan base. Since then, and particularly in the last 6 or 7 years or so, I would say that interest in the NFL in general has been growing at a faster rate than beforehand. The games over here are always well attended by a large mix of fans from all of the NFL franchises, but I have a feeling that this will feel more like a home game for the Colts than it will for the Jags, even though it's down as a Jags home game!"

Are you able to watch Colts games each week? If so, do you do it with other Colts fans?

"I am able to watch Colts games each week because I subscribe to NFL Game Pass, but otherwise I would be at the mercy of whatever games is being shown on Sky Sports or BT sport. I don't really get the chance to watch the games with other Colts fans in the room, maybe once a season, but I regularly have the game on and use the live chat on the Colts.com forum to chat with people on there during the game."


How much are you looking forward to the Colts playing in London?

"I have been waiting for about 14 years to see the Colts in the UK! I bought my tickets for myself and my wife THE SECOND they were available for purchase! We'll be there representing the 'Shoe loud and proud! There is a reason you have been receiving questions left, right and center in the mailbag about what activity the Colts may be doing in the week before the game. We are all VERY excited and it would be awesome to be able to meet some of the players before the game for autographs etc."

James Hanney (Dartford, England)*

How long have you been a Colts fan and why did you become a fan?*

"So I first became a Colts fan when I was about 12 (I'm now nearly 25.). This was around the time my brother started watching and playing (American football) himself. He was a big Colts fan, I think mainly for a certain Mr. Manning!"

What was your initial reaction when you heard the Colts were coming to Wembley?

"When i saw that the Colts we coming to town I wanted to get tickets straight away, but unfortunately for me I can't afford them. So I will be eagerly watching in front of my TV when the game is on!!"


What is the support like for the Colts over there?

"I don't know of many fans around. One or two of my friends are Colts fans but the majority of people I've seen around are either Dolphins, Patriots or Raiders fans. I would like to see a few more Colts fans but I just think most people are the Dolphins and Pats as the most recognized franchises and just go with everyone else."

Are you able to watch Colts games each week? If so, do you do it with other Colts fans?

"As I mentioned above, I don't know many other Colts fans, so when I do get the chance to watch a Colts game I normally do it by myself. I just introduced my little one to NFL. He doesn't quite understand it being only 6 months. Start them young!"


How much are you looking forward to the Colts playing in London?

"Ever since I found out the NFL came to London yearly, I've been praying for the Colts to come. Just a shame I can't go!"

Robbie Herrick (Luton, Bedfordshire, England)

How long have you been a Colts fan and why did you become a fan?

"The access we now have compared to 10 years ago has improved dramatically. I started watching the NFL around 2005. Sunday's for me involved playing football (soccer) in the morning followed by an afternoon in the pub. Early evening with a takeaway in hand and not much else on TV, I came across Sky Sports (National Sports Broadcaster) broadcasting games. As a few weeks passed, I started checking midweek scores and finding myself leaving the pub early to tune in. Watching the Colts, I was endeared with Peyton (who I named my second daughter after), Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison whilst not forgetting Dwight Freeney. The next few years saw me tuning in every now and again; 2011 is where my addiction started. Having claimed to be a Colts fan I couldn't turn my back, even with the devastating season. The 2012 season with Andrew Luck as the focal point and the ageless Robert Mathis is just a couple of reasons why I feel compelled to be a fan of Indianapolis. Seeing how strong a community the Colts have created is also a major factor. The #chuckstrong campaign shows it's not just a franchise but a community."

  • What was your initial reaction when you heard the Colts were coming to Wembley?*

"It has been a like a lottery with teams coming over and it feels like I have won. So excited for the week leading up to the game (hopefully a few Colts events will be planned) and then game day will be so exciting. So far I have attended four games at Wembley. We started hearing rumors a few weeks before the announcement but when the news dropped my phone didn't stop. I am sure the experience isn't going to compare with (Lucas Oil Stadium). A huge mixture of jerseys can be seen on game day, Jaguars will cover the venue in its regalia, but Wembley will have a strong Colts' following."

What is the support like for the Colts over there?

"The last three years the NFL has really grown. Sky Sports now show five games a week; three with a live studio of Neil Reynolds, Jeff Reinebold and Kevin Cadle. The lack of Colts' products on the NFL UK site is an indication of the popularity. NFL is still in its infancy here in the UK. We get a lot of bandwagon fans. Seahawks more recently, New England due to its dominance over the past decade and I saw a lot of Panther fans pop up last year. The older generation would lean more towards Miami or Denver. Jacksonville does a lot of work over here to raise the profile of the game."

  • Are you able to watch Colts games each week? If so, do you do it with other Colts fans?*

"Sky Sports are really doing a great job bringing us as much coverage as possible. They show all the episodes of 'A Football Life' and every year screen 'Hard Knocks'. We get Monday Night Games (Tuesday 1am for us), Thursday Night Games (Friday 1am) and then three over Sunday/Monday (6pm, 9.30pm and 1am). I have had the NFL Game Pass for the past two years which has allowed me to watch all the Colts games live; when Sky Sports screen a game, that game is then blacked out. I have a few buddies really getting into the game now, though none have come to the Horseshoe. We get together every now and again for a game."

  • How much are you looking forward to the Colts playing in London?*

"I have been on countdown for a long time now; with just over 100 days to go I am sure my friends are fed up of me constantly reminding them. I managed to get tickets up with the Gods as I am going with five other friends, would have loved to be closer to the action. Plans are already in place for Game Day; the Wife and Children will be packed off to the in-laws and the night before I'll be like a child on Christmas Eve. I am hoping the Colts bring over some decent merchandise. The NFL UK store is poor for Colts gear and the Colts' store doesn't ship overseas. The Wembley game day is unique. Last season, I sat next to a couple of Kansas City season ticket holders that came over specifically for the game. They were very impressed with the knowledge of the fans in the UK, the passion we show and the ability to put on a great event. NFL UK closes down part of London for a fan rally the day before. Thousands of people attend and it brings a very friendly, party like atmosphere."

Kenny Solomon (RAF Lakenheath, England)

How long have you been a Colts fan and why did you become a fan?

"I have been a Colts fan since 2005. I became a fan when they played the Patriots that year. That high-powered offense and whirlwind defense established my connection with the Colts forever."

What was your initial reaction when you heard the Colts were coming to Wembley?

"My initial reaction when I heard the Colts were coming to Wembley was to not tell anyone and be the first to buy tickets. I was very excited about it. I'm very lucky to be out here to experience it."

What is the support like for the Colts over there?

"The support for the Colts over here is surprisingly great. Since the Jags are basically London's home team, a lot of people like going against the current and became Colts fans."

Are you able to watch Colts games each week? If so, do you do it with other Colts fans?

"I watch every Colts game each week as long as the game doesn't get blacked out on NFL Game Pass. I watch it with a few other Colts fans that I know most of the time."

How much are you looking forward to the Colts playing in London?

"I am beyond ecstatic in watching the Colts win in London. The day couldn't come any sooner."

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