The league craves pounds, pesos and euros.
The National Football League’s 2022 International Series comes to an end with a Monday night game featuring the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City. If you listen to league officials, the NFL’s three games in London in October were a smashing success. On October 30th, 86,215 people purchased tickets to see the Jacksonville-Denver match up. The crowd set a record for attendance for an NFL game in London. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was so enthusiastic about the 2022 London series of games that in early October he floated the thought that someday the NFL could have a European division with two teams in London. Someday. The late David Stern while he was the National Basketball Association’s commissioner about two decades ago said the same thing that one day the NBA could have a European division. The NBA was in a better position to form a European division because basketball is widely played in Europe while American football is still in the novelty stage. Just how much interest in London and the rest of England for the NFL is there? Not as much as the NFL would like you to believe. According to Our Sporting Life, there are around 28,600 people who participate in American football in the UK down from 45,000 in 2017. There is no American football feeder system in England as most kids play soccer and rugby. The NFL plans to expand its International Series to include Germany in 2023.
The NFL does have fans in Mexico but the league has also had some difficulties in staging games in the nation. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the league skipped the country in 2020 and 2021. The league cancelled a Mexico City game in 2018 because of poor field conditions but returned in 2019. Why is the NFL in London and Mexico City? It wants pounds and pesos.
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