NFL Could Add 50M International Fans Under New Regulations

    • NFL teams can now market internationally in specific countries.
    • Mexico, Canada, Germany, and Brazil are among approved countries.

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The National Football League is strengthening its international presence.

Following a major pivot in league regulations, teams can market in specific foreign countries for the first time ever.

Teams can now align with clubs in other countries on co-marketing pacts, promotional tours, merchandise, and sponsorships. Countries on the list include Mexico, Canada, Germany, the U.K., China, and Brazil, which already has 63.7 million NFL fans.

The league counts 190 million U.S. fans, but Chris Halpin, the NFL’s chief strategy officer, told The Athletic “our next 50 million fans will come from these international markets.”

As many as half of the league’s teams were expected to submit proposals on Thursday.

  • The Kansas City Chiefs are interested in an alliance with an overseas soccer club — founder Lamar Hunt helped create MLS and owns a team. Chiefs president Mark Donovan says “they have contact names and networks.”
  • The Denver Broncos are looking at Mexico, the country with the second-largest Broncos fan base outside of Denver. The team’s Facebook and Instagram have 394,000 followers from Mexico and 331,000 from Denver.

Country licenses will be granted in the coming months, with five-year terms starting Jan. 1.