Expanding the NFL – America’s game

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Author: Stephen Duval

Posted: 04.02.20

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The Kansas City Chiefs pulled it off and ended the drought. For the first time in 50 years, the Chiefs are at the pinnacle of American sports.

Inspired by the brilliant Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs came back from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 and win Super Bowl LIV. What does this all mean in terms of their franchise now Mahomes has catapulted the team and himself onto the world stage? As sponsors and advertisers’ queue around the block, the commercial opportunities are endless and not just in the confines of the US.

The Superbowl is American Football’s window to the world. It grants the sport a truly global moment. 31 teams fail every year in the NFL, but none so spectacularly as the team who comes second. It is an all or nothing game.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s recently spoke eloquently about how he believes Toronto would be able to support a franchise, stating that only a state-of-the-art stadium would be a pre-condition to any move north of the border. This is something else special about the NFL. Teams can move location. For example, The St Louis Rams and the San Diego Chargers have both moved to Los Angeles in the last few years. If there is an exciting new market, teams will move to it. The NFL rarely stands in the way, why would it? The Chargers and the Rams paid $645M to the league’s members to move. The Oakland Raiders also recently paid $378M to the other teams to become the Las Vegas Raiders.

Goodell also announced that the league will likely return to Mexico City in the 2020 and 2021 seasons, with the games still to be confirmed. Already confirmed are the games in the UK though, where the growth of the NFL has been spectacular. Four NFL games already sell out and attract approximately 330,000 fans across those four games and more are on the way.

Goodell did, however, play down ambitions of a franchise moving to London. When compared with Canada and Mexico, geography does pose the obvious problem, especially when NFL teams already head on the road for weeks at a time to play opponents. However, speculation that London could hold a Superbowl continues to grow, especially now the league has ambitions of growth in Europe.

If a Toronto franchise were to become reality the idea that the Superbowl could be played on foreign soil becomes a very real proposition. If in Canada, then why not the UK? Sooner or later, an owner in the NFL is going to start considering the potential of moving a franchise abroad. The only remaining question is, how far will they be tempted to go?

For the current Superbowl champs, the expansion of the global interest in the NFL is only a positive. The more eyes on the sport worldwide means higher commercial and financial opportunities for the team and their players.

Tags: NFL, American Football, Sport, National Football League

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