The NFL touted the global demand for its product ahead of its five international games and confirmed Friday that cities in Brazil and Spain are under review as potential hosts in the future.
London hosts three games this season, beginning Sunday when the Jacksonville Jaguars play the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium. In November, two games will be played in Frankfurt, Germany, including a potential blockbuster when the Kansas City Chiefs face the Miami Dolphins.
The league has made an aggressive push internationally by adding a 17th game to the schedule to facilitate games abroad and give teams marketing rights in various countries.
“There is passion and demand for our game and for the NFL outside the U.S., and that’s why we’re exploring it as fully as we are,” said Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s executive vice president for club business and international and league events, in a media call on Friday.
“We’ve seen the impact of bringing a game to a new market like last year in Germany, and the impact locally, the response from fans,” O’Reilly said.
O’Reilly said there’s no timeline on decisions for adding new cities. But he confirmed that league officials recently made site visits to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil and Madrid in Spain where they were “building relationships, looking at the stadia there, looking at the operations partners, the infrastructure.”
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, NFL Head of Europe and UK Brett Gosper said 2024 hasn’t been ruled out for a new host city: “We’re examining that possibility along with years beyond that.”
O’Reilly said they haven’t made similar scouting trips to other cities, but he reiterated the league’s interest in countries such as France and Australia.
Australia would be “challenging from a distance perspective,” he said, but it’s “a great market where you’ve got a passionate NFL fan base.”
O’Reilly added the league hopes to return “in future years” to Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The stadium is being renovated ahead of the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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