THE United States National Football League yesterday launched a (pounds) 1m campaign to revive interest in American football in Britain, even though games in Scotland are attended by more people than most soccer matches.

Crowds at some home matches of the Scottish Claymores American football team, which competes in NFL Europe, were larger than the average attendance at all Scottish soccer clubs apart from Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen last season.

In addition, a worldwide television audience of more than 200 million in 150 countries is expected to watch the World Bowl, Europe's equivalent of the Super Bowl, at Hampden Park in Glasgow on June 14.

However, the NFL is still dissatisfied with television viewing figures for the sport in Britain.

A television and radio advertising campaign will attempt to recreate the enthusiasm levels of the mid-1980s when more viewers watched the Super Bowl, American football's equivalent of a cup final and league decider combined, than tuned in for Match of the Day, Britain's most popular soccer TV programme.

Organisers are also using a series of publicity stunts in Glasgow, London, Birmingham and Manchester to generate interest and reinforce the sport's macho image, including scratch and sniff postcards that smell like a player's armpit, and putting 25ft inflatable players dressed in full American football gear in shopping centres.

Alistair Kirkwood, NFL Europe's vice-president of planning and development, said the initial aim was to encourage 16 to 35-year-old males to watch the first live Super Bowl to be broadcast on terrestrial TV in five years, on January 26.

Five, previously known as Channel 5, is broadcasting the San Diego Super Bowl and will also have one week of prime-time shows devoted to American football during the build-up to the final.

NFL Europe hopes that, if the Super Bowl draws a big enough audience, the station will broadcast a weekly prime-time show next season to help kick-start a revival in Britain.

Between 1985 and 1989, four million UK viewers regularly watched the Super Bowl, and players like Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins quarterback, and 23-stone William ''The Refrigerator'' Perry of the Chicago Bears, were household names here. However, the sport's popularity in the UK fell when soccer finally managed to market itself successfully in the early 1990s. Last year, only about 250,000 people in the UK watched the live screening of the Super Bowl, which was aired on Sky, compared with 12 million who watched the World Cup final.

Mr Kirkwood said the NFL was partly to blame for the sport's demise in Britain, for not offering more to the fan base.

He said: ''We will be spending a significant part of the (pounds) 1m in Scotland where obviously there is major interest in American football through the Claymores.

''We are predicting that more NFL team owners will come to Scotland to watch the World Bowl than the record number of 12 who came over for the game in Germany last year. There are some very serious players like Paul Allen, the number two at Microsoft who owns the Seattle Seahawks, and that could have a lot of benefits for Glasgow and Scotland beyond the sport itself.''

Tourism chiefs believe the World Bowl match will boost the number of overseas visitors and will further enhance Glasgow's reputation as a major sports venue after the highly successful Champions League soccer final last May.

More than 10 million American viewers are expected to watch the game in Scotland, which was secured after a bid by Glasgow City Council and included a visit to the Super Bowl by Alex Mosson, the lord provost, to lobby NFL officials.

The Scottish Claymores, who won the World Bowl in 1996, are also to host Britain's biggest Super Bowl party at the Walkabout Bar in Renfield Street, Glasgow, on Sunday, January 26.