An NFL franchise in London is "not far off", according to American football star Joique Bell.

The Detroit Lions running back was attending NFL UK's Play 60 football and education programme, which is taking place throughout the summer at six London schools.

Bell told IBTimes UK that the rapidly growing British fanbase meant there was a strong demand for a London team.

"I definitely think so and I don't think it's that far off. There are a lot of fans here interested in American football and we love to come over here and play the game. So we're excited to come back over," he said.

Bell's Detroit Lions side are one of six teams who will be playing in London later this year as part of the NFL's international series. The games, which have been taking place at Wembley stadium since 2007, have proved hugely popular, leading to increased speculation that a London franchise will soon be established.

NFL wembley
Bell played for the Lions during their 22-21 win over the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley last year Reuters

A report by Deloitte last year estimated that a London-based NFL team could contribute more than £100m to the UK economy

Earlier this month Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur announced a new 10-year agreement with the NFL that will see a minimum of two American football games a year played at the club's new stadium from the 2018-19 season.

The Jacksonville Jaguars currently have a deal in place where they play one game a season at Wembley, which runs until 2016.

The three games this year are New York Jets v Miami Dolphins on 4 October, Buffalo Bills v Jacksonville Jaguars on 25 October and Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs on 1 November.