Roger Goodell, the commissioner of American football’s NFL, has 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 internationally.
Spain and Brazil are expected to be the frontrunners and Goodell revealed a decision is imminent.
He told UK media outlet Sky Sports: “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 Sunday (November 5).
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Mexico has also hosted games on and off since 2016, and now the NFL will add another country to the schedule in 2024 to continue the aim of increasing the league's international reach.
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.
Last month, 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 Green Bay Packers became the 32nd and final franchise to play a regular season game in the UK last year to complete the set for the league.
Goodell said: “When we expanded our regular season from 16 to 17 games, we talked at one time about whether the 17th game would be all international games.
“We didn't feel we were in that position, because we didn't feel we had the markets developed enough for that. And so I think this is something that will get a lot more attention but I do expect to expand in regular game series quite dramatically.”
The response to the NFL’s international games continues to be positive in terms of matchday attendance and TV figures in those markets, and the league views it as a significant growth opportunity.
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.
Goodell stated: “I think they (team owners) completely understand the potential of it. Every one of our teams has played an International Series game, and every one of them comes back with the exact same reaction and there's clearly something powerful here. And there's an opportunity for us to become a global sport.
“I think the debate is, how fast and what we do to accelerate that growth. But that's a healthy debate, that's what we expect to have. How we make decisions is making sure we hear all the different perspectives including the people on the ground.
“We have made it clear to our ownership that we think this is a unique time in our history and to advance our growth particularly. I think it may be the single most important growth moment in our history. Because we now get a chance to share our game.”