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Roger Goodell

(LM Otero / Associated Press)

NFL Seeks Games in France and Spain

NFL Seeks Games in France and Spain

After a successful outing in Germany, the NFL is looking to expand its reach in Europe, with France and Spain being at the top of that list in an attempt to increase international revenue.

The Buccaneers and Seahawks played the first NFL game in Munich, Germany last Sunday. The game was the first in a four-year deal between the NFL and Germany that both sides hope is extended in the near future.

Outside of Germany though, fan analysis has shown that France and Spain are among the top destinations where games currently aren’t being played.

Brett Gosper, NFL head of U.K and Europe, gave some insight on this topic.

“We need to do our homework to make sure that there is the possibility of a place to land any games in those markets, gauge interest of the host stadia, gauge interest of the host city, even the government, as to their enthusiasm to help us bring a game,” Gosper said.

Quote via ESPN, courtesy of Associated Press

Right now, Spain would have a slight edge over France due to the Dolphins and Bears having “home marketing” rights within the country. The NFL currently has divided up international rights to 10 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Ghana, Mexico and the United Kingdom. 

Playing games abroad is part of the reason why the NFL extended its season to 17 games. The league has committed to playing four international games a year, with each team required to play one game abroad every eight years.

The question then becomes where these games will be played. In Spain, Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is currently undergoing major renovations, including the installation of artificial turf in an attempt to host American football. The stadium holds well over 80,000 people making it a prime location for an NFL game.

The Stade de France just north of Paris also holds over 80,000 people but that stadium, for now, is only used for soccer games.

However, Gosper has mentioned that Spain seems to be a more desirable location than France.

“France is a little bit outside of that, and it’s its own market and culture,” Gosper said.

Quote via ESPN, courtesy of Associated Press

Nevertheless, he did note the potential that France has as a sports market and the money that can be made.

“But at the same time it’s an incredibly strong sports media market where returns could be higher and faster than Spain,” Gosper said.

Quote via ESPN, courtesy of Associated Press

So while Spain seems to be the easier option, games in France look like they could bring more money and revenue for the NFL. And as we all know, that’s the most important thing to the organization.

It will be interesting to see what direction the NFL goes in here. They are always looking to expand, with talks of even dipping into the Nordic market in Norway and Sweden.

I wouldn’t be surprised if games are being played in France and Spain in the coming years. The world seemingly loves American football and the NFL loves making money, so I don’t see why these deals won’t be made soon.

These two sports markets are ripe with potential for the NFL and I think the organization realizes that. People outside the United States want football and now it’s the NFL’s job to deliver.

***

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