On the opening night of the 2023 NFL season, commissioner Roger Goodell emphasized the league’s desire to grow its international footprint. Since then, the NFL has already taken two major steps toward that goal.
First, the league solidified its place in London by extending its deal to host multiple games at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. And now, Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s executive vice president of club business, international, and league events, says the league wants to play regular-season games in Spain and Brazil in 2024.
“We are spending time in those markets, building relationships and looking at the stadia there,” he told ESPN.
This season, the NFL is playing five international games — three in London (beginning Sunday with the Falcons-Jaguars tilt at 9:30 a.m. ET) and two in Germany.
Mexico City has held games in the past, but Estadio Azteca is undergoing renovations this year. Should the NFL return to Mexico next year, the league could theoretically play games in five countries outside the U.S. — the U.K., Germany, Mexico, Spain, and Brazil.
Real Madrid’s Estadio Santiago Bernabeu — which has undergone $1 billion-plus renovations — appears to be likely to host a game in Spain. The Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears are the two NFL teams with international marketing rights in Spain, and the Dolphins have the same rights in Brazil, suggesting those clubs may want to host games in those countries.
Writing On The Wall?
Adding a third country to the NFL’s European footprint would put the league closer to making a four-team European division come to life.
Beyond the U.K., Germany, and Spain, various NFL teams have European marketing rights in France, Austria, Switzerland, and Ireland — the latter of which has hosted season-opening games for Notre Dame over the past two years.