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Monday, June 24, 2024

NFL Heads to Africa in Search of Fans, Talent

  • The NFL is hosting camps, clinics, and fan events in Ghana later this month.
  • These will be the first official NFL events on the continent.
Osi-Umenyiora
NFL UK

The NFL is turning its attention to Africa.

The league will host events in Ghana beginning June 21, including a talent identification camp, fan event, and flag football clinic.

These will be the league’s first official events on the continent. 

  • There are more than 100 players on NFL rosters of African descent, either born on the continent or first-generation American, according to the league.
  • Talent identification camps will feature 40 players selected from regional camps led by retired defensive end Osi Umenyiora.
  • The NFL is looking at future events and camps in Nigeria and other African countries.

“Top talent from the camp could be invited to participate in International Combines, the International Player Pathway program, and for those athletes ages 16 to 19, there’s the opportunity to attend the NFL Academy in London,” said NFL chief operating officer of international Damani Leech.

Untapped Talent

American sports leagues have made scant investments in Africa, with the exception of the NBA. Along with the International Basketball Federation — a relationship that’s reportedly valued at nearly $1 billion — the NBA runs the Basketball Africa League, which launched in 2021.

The league has 12 teams, each from a different country, and is sponsored by Nike, Air Jordan, and Pepsi. It is broadcast in Africa on ESPN Africa and Canal+ Afrique, in the U.S. on ESPN+, and in China on Tencent Video.

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