The number of international games played in each National Football League (NFL) season will double to eight in 2025, while the American football league has also announced that its first-ever regular season game in South America will take place next year.
The increase in international fixtures is a significant move in terms of the NFL’s global expansion and was unveiled after a vote by the league’s 32 franchises at a league meeting in Dallas, Texas. This year, five international games took place, three in the UK and two in Germany (including one in Frankfurt that broke an NFL Network viewing record).
The South American regular-season game also represents a major development for the NFL – that fixture will take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at the Corinthians Arena.
That game will fit alongside three in London, UK, and one other in Munich, Germany, to make a total of five internationally for the NFL next year.
In terms of the expansion of overseas NFL fixtures, as part of the updated resolution, no club will be required to play more than one regular season game outside North America in the same season, unless they specifically choose to do so. In addition, international games may not take place after week 14 of each NFL season (usually mid-December).
Each club designated to play an international game will then be permitted “to select two of their regular season opponents that will not be eligible to be scheduled as their opponent in an international game."
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Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, has said: “Becoming a global sport is a major strategic priority for the league and 32 teams. Increasing international game inventory allows us to grow our global presence and share our game with exciting new markets to connect with more fans around the world.”
Joel Glazer, chair of the league’s international committee (and also owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise), added: “International games have been a huge success, and we are excited for the opportunity to share the sport of American football with more fans from around the world in the future.”
Since the NFL first took a regular season game to another country in 2005 (Mexico), 50 have taken place internationally, across the UK, Canada, Mexico, and Germany.
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 also said, on the subject of the league’s first-ever game in Brazil and South America: “Bringing the NFL to new continents, countries, and cities around the world is a critical element of our plan to continue to grow the game globally.
“Brazil has established itself as a key market for the NFL, and we are excited to be playing in Brazil and São Paulo for the first time in 2024.”
The Corinthians Stadium was a host venue during soccer’s 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and also for the 2016 Olympics.
The NFL has said Brazil contains its second-largest international fanbase (behind only Mexico), claiming over 38 million fans in the country.
The league is broadcast in Brazil by RedeTV and ESPN.
Goodell had confirmed either Spain or Brazil would host an NFL game next year, in November.
Elsewhere, the NFL has designated Los Angeles as the host for the 2027 version of the iconic end-of-season Super Bowl.
That game will take place at SoFi Stadium in the Inglewood neighborhood – the location for the 2022 Super Bowl. The stadium is currently home to the NFL’s LA Rams and LA Chargers.
This will, in total, be the ninth Super Bowl to take place in Los Angeles County.
The event will come in advance of the 2028 Olympics taking place in Los Angeles.
Super Bowl LVIII will take place on February 11, 2024, at Allegiant Stadium in the Las Vegas metropolitan area.