The Miami Dolphins will take the field against the Oakland Raiders this weekend in an environment like none other in the NFL. The first of the NFL's three games in London this year as a part of the International Series, no stadium in the NFL can boast the 86,000 seat capacity of Wembley Stadium back in the United States. The closest are MetLife Stadium, with a capacity of 82,566 and Lambeau Field at 80,735 (AT&T Field in Dallas can be expanded to 105,121, though its standard configuration used during the season is 80,000).
Last week, the Dolphins played in front of 70,313 fans at Sun Life Stadium. Last week, estimates already had 80,000 tickets sold for this weekend's game. Only one time, the 2011 International Series game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has Wembley Stadium held fewer than 81,000 fans (76,981). Both games last year topped 83,500 in attendance.
The NFL estimates via surveys that only about 3-percent of the fans attending any International Series game are Americans, compared to 82-percent being from across the United Kingdom (22-percent from London).
The experience, however, is not limited to just during the game. The NFL also hosts "NFL on Regent Street," turning the area into a giant fan fest, where last year, over half-a-million people came to get a glimpse of the NFL. The atmosphere during the fest and the game has been described as a Super Bowl-like environment.
The Dolphins franchise is playing in this environment for the second time, having been involved in the first regular season contest played outside of the United States when they faced the New York Giants in London in 2007. The Dolphins were also involved in the first regular season game played in Canada when they faced the Buffalo Bills in the Bills Toronto Series in 2008.
Most of the players and staff, however, are new to the international games. Sunday will be an amazing atmosphere, and something for the players - and fans in attendance - to enjoy and remember.