With the tickets for the Dolphins-Chiefs International game in Frankfurt, Germany selling out in 15 minutes, it has NFL fans thinking about what an expansion could look like. As the NFL continues to expand its global reach and technology in travel gets much more efficient, the possibility of establishing teams beyond U.S. borders is an exciting prospect.
While numerous cities could make a case, we’ve identified four global destinations with the necessary infrastructure, fan base, and market potential.
Expanding America’s Biggest League World-Wide
1. London, England
Let’s go ahead and get the obvious one out of the way. London has demonstrated a fiery passion for American football, regularly hosting NFL games since 2007. The city has successfully staged 35 regular-season matchups and even hosted four NFL London Games in one season from 2016 to 2019.
a) Market Potential
London’s metropolitan area boasts a population of over 14 million people, providing a vast potential fan base for an NFL team. A study conducted by the NFL indicated that over 13 million people in the UK are interested in American football, with around four million considering themselves avid fans.
b) Financial Viability
According to Forbes, the average NFL team is valued at $3.05 billion. London, as a major global financial hub, offers substantial market potential for investors and sponsors, making it an attractive destination for franchise owners. The NFL London Games have consistently drawn large crowds, with an average attendance of over 80,000 fans per game, showcasing the city’s capacity for hosting regular-season contests.
2. Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico’s capital city, with its vibrant culture and immense love for sports, represents an enticing opportunity for the NFL to establish a presence in Latin America. Mexico City has already hosted four regular-season NFL games with great success.
a) Passionate Fan Base
Mexico City boasts a passionate and knowledgeable fan base, consistently drawing large crowds to NFL games held at the Estadio Azteca. The NFL’s annual game in Mexico City, reinstated in 2016, has witnessed remarkable attendance, with over 100,000 fans filling the stadium on multiple occasions.
b) Market Size
With a metropolitan population of over 21 million people, Mexico City presents a substantial market for an NFL team. A study by the NFL indicates that Mexico has over 23 million American football fans, showcasing the sport’s widespread popularity and potential for growth.
3. Toronto, Canada
While Canada already has a thriving football culture with the CFL, Toronto represents an attractive market for an NFL team due to its size, proximity to the US, and diverse fan base. Toronto is a city we don’t see as often on these types of lists. So consider the following factors:
a) Population and Market Potential
Toronto is Canada’s largest city, home to over 2.7 million residents, with a greater metropolitan population exceeding six million. The Toronto region also has a substantial American football following, with millions of fans eagerly following the NFL. They already have three teams out of the four major sports leagues, why shouldn’t the NFL tap into the market?
b) Economic Strength
Toronto’s strong economy, backed by a diverse range of industries, provides an ideal foundation for generating revenue streams through sponsorships, ticket sales, and merchandise. See, if Drake wants to be an owner. He’s got the money and star power to attract top-tier talent to the 6. While also having a cult following that would almost certainly do huge numbers for the NFL.
4. Frankfurt, Germany
The aforementioned Frankfurt, known as the financial capital of Germany and a major economic hub in Europe, presents a compelling case for the NFL to consider establishing a team in the city.
a) Population and Market Potential
Frankfurt is one of the most populous cities in Germany, with a population of over 750,000 residents. Moreover, the Frankfurt Rhine-Main metropolitan area has a population of more than 5.5 million people, offering significant market potential for the NFL. Germany as a whole has a passionate and growing fan base for American football, with an estimated 20,000 registered players and an increasing number of fans who follow the NFL.
b) Economic Strength
Frankfurt boasts a robust and diverse economy, driven primarily by its status as a global financial center. The city is home to numerous multinational corporations, including some of the world’s largest banks and financial institutions. This economic strength provides a solid foundation for generating revenue through sponsorships, ticket sales, and merchandise, as well as attracting potential investors or owners for an NFL team.
Additionally, Frankfurt has a strong sports culture, with successful professional teams in soccer, basketball, and ice hockey. The city has a passionate and dedicated fan base that regularly supports its local teams, indicating the potential for a similar enthusiasm and support for an NFL team.
While the NFL isn’t chomping at the bit to expand, it’s only a matter of time before they want to further America’s #1 sport to the world. The NFL will without a doubt continue to explore opportunities beyond the United States, with these three global cities standing out as prime candidates for hosting an NFL team.
London’s thriving market, Mexico City’s passionate fan base, Toronto’s distance to the States, and Germany’s passion make them alluring prospects. With the NFL’s global popularity on the rise, expanding into these cities could further solidify American football’s place on the global sports landscape.
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