NFL Investigating Rio And Madred As Possible International Games Sites

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield warms up before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

The league wants a bigger global footprint.

Here is a head shaker. The National Football League’s international search committee looking for a stadium around the world that could host a regular season game has found Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to its liking. Rio and Brazil have some well-heeled people, the kind of customers that could buy a ticket for a one-day spectacular event, but most of the people who live in Brazil are poor. Brazil has a higher average salary than other Latin American countries but still comparatively lower than developed countries like America and other European countries that have hosted games, England and Germany. So the NFL isn’t going to get most Brazilians to games but there is television and there is legalized sports gambling in the country so people can become interested in the NFL by betting on games. Brazil does have some stadiums left over from the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics which both were financial disasters for the country.

The National Football League needs to expand its global footprint. It lags well behind Major League Baseball and baseball as there are established well-developed leagues globally. Soccer is the top played sport in the world. The National Basketball Association has a large global footprint and there are well-established, well-developed basketball leagues globally. The National Hockey League played some pre-season games in September in Australia in an attempt to expand its global footprint and hockey has a great presence in Europe with well-established local leagues. The National Football League is scrambling. The league has been in London for years but no other cities in England. There are some local semi-pro American football-style clubs in England. The league is trying to establish a  foothold in Germany and the league may take a look at Madrid, Spain. The NFL does not have feeder leagues outside of America and that is a major problem.

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AP Photo/Chris O’Meara