The NFL made a strong push to expand its international footprint this season and could take yet another significant step this week.
Team owners are convening in Irving, Texas, on Tuesday and Wednesday for a special league meeting. A source confirmed to Front Office Sports that the agenda includes a vote, expected on Wednesday, to require all 32 clubs to play one designated home game outside the U.S. every four years. Right now, teams are required to do so once every eight years. Sports Business Journal initially reported the news.
The NFL played five international games this fall — three in London and two in Frankfurt — and is exploring the possibility of playing future games in Madrid and Sao Paulo, Brazil, along with plans to eventually return to Mexico City. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made multiple comments about expanding in Europe and even hinted at playing a Super Bowl in London.
A source told NBC Sports’ Peter King that the new international measure should be easily approved, which could allow the NFL to start playing nine games abroad per season as soon as 2025.
New Package To Sell?
Currently, games in Europe are typically broadcast at 9:30 a.m. ET, mostly on NFL Network, and one per season on ESPN+ the past two years. Creating a larger slate of games could allow the NFL to sell those broadcasts as their own package.
Former NFL executives have told Front Office Sports they expect the league to move toward a larger schedule of international games before considering placing a franchise abroad. Meanwhile, the NFL has been exploring the potential of putting an international game exclusively behind the paywall of its streaming service NFL+.