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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 7:46 pm 
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CHICAGO (Reuters) - The National Football League, pushing to broaden its fan base overseas, said on Thursday it sold the first 40,000 tickets for its second regular-season game in London in 90 minutes.

The tickets -- for a game on October 26 at Wembley Stadium between the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints -- were available to randomly selected fans who registered with IAC/InterActiveCorp-owned Ticketmaster, the U.S. professional sports league said.

Wembley, which has a seating capacity for American football of more than 81,000, is home to the national English soccer team.

"Today's sales at Ticketmaster have matched the pace at which tickets were bought for last year's game between the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants, which was historic in being the first-ever regular-season game outside North America," Alistair Kirkwood, managing director of NFL UK, said in a statement.

The NFL, which has played preseason games abroad for 58 years, said due to the heavy demand it has released another 5,000 tickets for immediate sale.

The NFL has committed to play at least one game in the United Kingdom each of the next three seasons, beginning with this year's matchup.

Last October, the NFL staged its first regular-season game outside North America, a rain-drenched game played before a capacity crowd the Giants won. The first regular-season game outside the United States was played in 2005 in Mexico City, where an NFL record crowd of 103,467 watched the Arizona Cardinals play the San Francisco 49ers.

The U.S. league's ambitions extend beyond England, however, as it has said Germany and France also could eventually host regular-season games. The NFL launched an American football league in Europe in 1991, but closed it last year.

In addition, the NFL has said the Buffalo Bills will play a regular-season game in Toronto once a season for the next five years, starting this season. The NFL canceled plans for a 2007 preseason game in China, but officials have said they are still considering a trip there, possibly in 2009.



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