American football’s NFL has expanded its Global Markets Program with the addition of two new clubs and four new markets for the 2023 season.

The expansion was approved by the international committee at the league’s 2023 spring meeting in Minneapolis earlier this week.

A total of 21 clubs will now participate in the program in 2023 across 14 international markets, up from 19 participating clubs across 10 countries last year.

For next season, the New Orleans Saints have been granted international marketing rights in France – the first NFL club to select and be awarded the French market – in what is their first entry into the Global Markets Program.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been awarded rights in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to complement their rights in Mexico, which they received last year.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have also been granted rights in the Republic of Ireland and will expand their international rights beyond the UK for the first time.

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Elsewhere, the Atlanta Falcons became the fifth club to be granted marketing rights in Germany, marking the franchise’s first entry into the program.

Three of the original teams with rights in Germany – the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers – were granted rights in April to expand their presence beyond Germany to include Austria and Switzerland as part of the DACH region.

The league’s marketing initiative, which launched in January 2022, was previously referred to as the International Home Marketing Areas program.

The program grants NFL clubs access to international markets for marketing, fan engagement, and commercialization activations as part of a long-term strategic effort to enable clubs to build their brands globally while driving NFL fan growth beyond the US.

NFL clubs can apply for rights to selected international markets by submitting proposals to the international committee annually.

Teams are awarded rights for at least a five-year term through the program. During this period, a club has rights to pursue activities in that international market “that are largely consistent with what they can do in their home market.”

Peter O'Reilly, NFL executive vice president of club business, major events, and international, said: "We are thrilled to see the shared ambition of our teams in growing the NFL around the world, and this expansion demonstrates not only the momentum of the Global Markets Program as we head into year two but the value the participating clubs are already seeing from this important initiative.

"We know that global fandom is accelerated through direct engagement with our clubs and players, and we are excited to see the continued impact of this program to reach and engage more fans and grow our sport at every level globally."

Meanwhile, Roger Goodell and the NFL have agreed on the framework of a three-year contract extension that will keep him in place as the league’s commissioner until 2027.

This will be the fourth extension for Goodell, who took over from Paul Tagliabue in 2006. His previous extensions came in 2009, 2012, and 2017.

His current contract is not due to expire until March 2024.

During this term, Goodell has helped finalize a collective bargaining agreement and new media rights deals with CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN, and Amazon worth over $100 billion.

The NFL also recently concluded a multi-billion-dollar streaming deal with YouTube TV for its Sunday Ticket package of games.

Goodell also navigated the NFL through the Covid-19 pandemic, with the league playing its full slate of games during the period and players receiving 100% of their compensation.

The 64-year-old’s last five-year extension in 2017 was expected to be his last but some believe this will be his final contract with the league as the two previous commissioners also stepped down from the role in their mid-sixties.

Pete Rozelle departed when he was 63, while Tagliabue left when he was 65.

Image: Chris Graythen/Getty Images