Filmed by Sky Sports? Broadcast Live? 8000 Fans? The Tab Uncovers One of the Biggest Sporting Events of the Year

On Saturday, Nottingham’s American Football team, the Nottingham Outlaws, are playing Birmingham Lions in their official season-opener, XpLosION.

With the game on the Birmingham Edgbaston Campus, the Outlaws and the Lions are hoping to get around 8000 people down to watch the spectacle, which will include half-time performances and a firework display.

In terms of excitement and atmosphere, the match will surely be one of THE sporting events of the semester and will be broadcast LIVE on University TV whilst a highlight package will also be shown on Sky Sports. With the big day looming, The Tab’s Sam Dean had a quick word with game organiser Thomas Roberts…

Thanks for talking to us Thomas; you must be pretty busy at the moment! How has the season gone so far?

Well the start of the season is always difficult as we get a lot of people who come down who have never played the game before but we had a training camp two weekends ago and a scrimmage against Sheffield which went really well. We have also played a full game against Tamworth Phoenix, a well known side who are considered to be one of the top 5 teams in the country. Although we lost that game 26-7, it was a very good performance considering it was a lot of our players’ first time playing the sport.

So is there a lot of interest in American Football in Nottingham? Do a lot of people want to play?

Yeah, we’ve got a huge squad – 86 registered players for just the one team! Because it splits up into offence, defence and special teams, around 70 of these will play on Saturday. It’s a really big group of players.

How do you fancy your chances against Birmingham Lions?

Well, the most reputable source on American Football in the UK is the website Double Coverage and they rank Birmingham Lions as the second best programme in the entire country, behind Hertfordshire. We’re ranked at 23 so, on paper, they are the firm favourites. Whilst obviously it’s going to be a good game, for anyone in the know, they are expected to win. There is always room for an upset though! We have watched a lot of footage from their games and they do make mistakes – they are human. We genuinely believe that if we perform to the best of our ability then we have a chance to upset the odds.

Fingers crossed that you do! Is this an annual fixture against Birmingham or is it just a one-off event?

This big fixture has been done for the last three of four years as a curtain-raiser for the American Football University season but the last time we played the Lions on the opening day was five years ago.

So how can people watch the game?

It’s not a ticketed event so it’s completely free to come and watch! I hear that Birmingham will be providing charity buckets for Help For Heroes, so hopefully a decent amount of money will be raised for charity on top of everything else. If you can’t make it, the game is being streamed live by Birmingham University TV and I think NUTS are going to try and stream it too, although that is still in the process of being finalised. Also, Sky Sports will be putting on a package for it, and they are coming down to film the starting players this week and will be showing a highlight package during the Sunday NFL games – it’s all quite exciting!

It certainly is. Thanks again for talking to us and best of luck on Saturday.

If you’re interested in going to see the game, get on down to the Birmingham Edgbaston Campus for 5pm on Saturday 5th November.