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London mayor Sadiq Khan talks up Super Bowl dream for city

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A Super Bowl in London? (1:55)

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan revealed his dream for the Super Bowl to one day be held in London. (1:55)

LONDON -- The mayor of London has outlined his "dream" of bringing the Super Bowl to the English city as part of his grand plan to guarantee it "capital of world sport" status.

In an interview with ESPN, Sadiq Khan, who last year was elected as the first Muslim mayor of a major western city, said he believed London had "probably" already earned that global title.

But he said he wanted to ensure that it "definitely" would be considered to have such a sporting status by the end of his four-year term in 2020; he was also hopeful of bringing Major League Baseball to the capital, in 2019 at the earliest, as part of his plan.

Regular-season NBA and NFL games have already become part of London's sporting landscape. Khan said he wants to embrace U.S. sports like never before.

"My ultimate dream is to get the Super Bowl here in London -- wouldn't that be great?" Khan said. "I'm excited to make it happen."

Traditionally, the hosting of the Super Bowl has been considered the ultimate reward for an NFL franchise city in the U.S. When asked whether London needs to have a franchise before it could be considered, Khan said: "Let's wait and see what the attitude of the NFL franchises is.

"The main logistical problem is the time of day the game will take place here [in the early hours of the morning in Great Britain] and the viewing figures in America.

"One of the huge advantages for the NFL about having a game in London [during the regular season] is that it means on a Sunday there's no time when you can't watch a game of American football that day."

Khan laughed about the wholly implausible idea of the U.S. ever staging a "breakfast Super Bowl," but he was adamant that London could stage the first post-midnight Super Bowl.

"When it comes to big sports events like boxing in London, and other events when we try to get an American audience, we often move the time until later into the night to make it work."

The NFL did not respond to inquiries about Khan's comments about a Super Bowl in London.

Khan talked of his confidence that London will host eight NFL matches each season by the end of his tenure -- and that the capital would become home to a franchise "in the near future."

Wooing top U.S. sport to Britain has become one of Khan's priorities. Last year, three NFL games were staged at Wembley Stadium and Twickenham; this year it will be four. In January, the NBA came to town for its annual jamboree, headlined by the Nuggets-Pacers match.

Now, he is working actively, having talked with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, at bringing baseball to the Olympic stadium -- now known as the London Stadium and the home of West Ham United soccer team, even if not a regular-season fixture, by 2019.

"At some time in the future [we will have regular-season fixtures in all three sports]," Khan said. "The sooner the better, because I want the whole world to recognize we're a sporting capital, and that means making sure that sports that mainly have a following in North America come here.

"It can't just be the crickets and soccers, tennis and boxing, it's also got to be American football, basketball and baseball as well."

This year alone, Khan pointed out, London's sporting feast would feature, among other events, the world athletics and para-athletics championships, Wimbledon and the ATP World Tour Finals.

As a former boxer, his personal favorite choice was the world heavyweight title fight between young Briton Anthony Joshua and Ukraine's veteran former champion Wladimir Klitschko, which will be watched by 90,000 at Wembley next month.

"My view is that we probably are the sports capital of the world -- and I want to make sure we definitely are the sports capital of the world," said Khan.

"It's really important for us to make sports that are really big in America accessible and easy for us to watch live.

"The dream is to have a permanent NFL franchise based here. There are a couple of teams interested -- it takes 75 percent of the 32 teams to vote for it, if it's to happen.

"The good news is 24 teams have so far played in London over the last few years, and they've all loved it."

London, he said, could sell out every game if they hosted eight games a year featuring 16 different teams, but he added: "I'm keen to have a permanent team here ... and I'm optimistic in relation to in the near future having a permanent NFL franchise."