Earlier this week, the NFL’s commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed the league will stage a regular season game in a new country in 2024.
The NFL already plays fixtures in the UK, Mexico, and Germany as international hosts, but has now outlined plans to expand further into new markets. Spain and Brazil are the frontrunners and Goodell revealed to UK media outlet Sky that a decision is imminent.
He said: “We're looking and analyzing where we go next year. We will certainly go to a new market next year for sure.
“We're debating on that, and I think we'll have a decision in the next 30-45 days … I think that'll be exciting for us.”
The NFL has again played three regular-season games in London this season, while the first of two matches in Frankfurt was held on November 5.
How well do you really know your competitors?
Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.
Your download email will arrive shortly
Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample
We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below formBy GlobalData
Why it matters
The response to the NFL’s international games continues to be positive in terms of matchday attendance and TV figures in the host markets, and the league views it as a significant growth opportunity.
Since the first regular-season NFL game was held internationally – in Mexico City in October 2005 – 43 games have taken place outside the US, split between the aforementioned three countries but with the vast majority in London, UK.
The popularity and appeal of the NFL outside of the US continue to grow, and the top American football league is keen to capitalize on the momentum with buy-in from all 32 teams.
Last year, the iconic Green Bay Packers became the 32nd and final NFL franchise to play a regular season game in the UK last year, completing the set for the league.
In October, meanwhile, the Jacksonville Jaguars made history by becoming the first team to play back-to-back games overseas by facing the Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills in London. The Jaguars have played by far the most international games out of any NFL team, having taken part in 11.
Last month, Goodell confirmed the league has discussed staging a future Super Bowl in London, while earlier this week the NFL claimed that last weekend’s meeting between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins in Germany was the most-watched international game on NFL Network in the US since records began.
In a separate interview with the NFL Network in Frankfurt over the weekend, Goodell confirmed that the league is “looking primarily at Spain and Brazil” as the next location.
The Miami Dolphins, who faced the Kansas City Chiefs in Germany on Sunday, have rights to market in Spain and Brazil as part of the league’s global marketing program. The Chicago Bears also have rights in Spain.
In Brazil, the league is covered by RedeTV and ESPN, while in Spain, Movistar shows the action.
On the subject of further NFL host markets, Conrad Wiacek, head of analysis and consulting at GlobalData Sport, said: “The NFL's aims in growing the game internationally have been a key focus for the league.
“Expanding the NFL's presence internationally means greater media rights revenue and greater interest from sponsors. With the league already established in the UK and Germany, with international games in those countries now routinely selling out, the focus is switching to the Latin markets, perhaps to build on a domestic audience that is more focused on soccer and baseball.
“By moving into Spain, the NFL would no doubt look to the likes of partnerships with Barcelona and Real Madrid to attract audiences from soccer, while Brazil would give the competition an opportunity to grow in an international market with a game in a time zone that is far friendlier to domestic audiences."