NFL Adds International Game in Effort to Expand Globally

By Matthew Bagdat,
Sports Business Editor
nflinlondon
Over the past number of years, the NFL has made an increased effort to increase its presence on the global stage. According to NFL.com, the NFL has played three games in London in each season since 2014, with each of those games being sold out. On Friday, the league announced that the series in London for next season has been expanded to a fourth game.

League Commissioner Roger Goodell is excited about the move, stating, “London is an amazing city. We have had tremendous support from our fans, from mayor Khan and other government leaders and business partners, and we are looking forward to taking the next step in the UK by playing four games in London next season.” Fox Business reports that the games will played at Wembley Stadium, the site of the league’s most recent matchup in London between the Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals.

The latest decision to increase games played in London is another step in the right direction for the NFL in terms of global expansion. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London has hopes of a franchise eventually starting in his city. “London is the international home of the NFL and staging the equivalent of what would be half of an American football team’s home games in the city is a huge step towards my ambition of bringing a franchise to the capital. The NFL has stated that it “has a U.K.-based fan base of more than 13 million people.”

Despite soccer being the primary sport in England and the rest of Europe, the NFL’s rising global influence is helping increase the number of young athletes playing football. Earlier in the year, Giants’ wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. went to Munich, Germany and attended a practice of the Munich Cowboys, helping them prepare for their upcoming season. In week 11, the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders played the league’s first ever game in Mexico on Monday Night Football. The game is no longer limited to the United States, as adding another game to the London series is indicative of their commitment to expansion. Commissioner Goodell has a goal of reaching $25 billion in annual revenue by 2021. With more international games scheduled, this number is certainly attainable.

 

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 13th print edition.

Contact Matt at
matthew.bagdat@student.shu.edu

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