More countries could be hosting regular-season games

The NFL’s international series has focused in recent years on building a presence in London.  But that’s not the only foreign country in which the league is willing to ignore that “N” is for “National.”

Via Albert Breer of NFL Media, the league is considering the staging of regular-season games in Mexico and Germany, in addition to the recent suggestion that the 2017 Pro Bowl could be played in Brazil and ongoing efforts to play in Canada and China.

“The work we’re doing now is to ask, ‘How do we accelerate the agenda in Mexico, Canada and China?'” NFL executive V.P. of international Mark Waller told Breer.  “Those would be our next stage, and we have offices in those three countries.  And then, after those, where should be our focus?  I think we’ve concluded that Brazil and Germany are the next two frontier markets, which is where the Pro Bowl idea comes from.”

Ten years ago, more than 103,000 fans showed up for a Cardinals-49ers game in Mexico City, but the league has not yet played another game there.  Security concerns often have been cited as one of the reasons for no sequel, yet.

If the league decides to play games that count while playing three games per year (and possibly more) in London, the league will need more teams to give up home games.  Apart from the fairly new rule that teams hosting a Super Bowl must give up a home game, Breer points out that teams relocating to a new market must sacrifice one home game per year while playing in a temporary venue pending the construction of their new stadium.

This could give the NFL up to two extra exportable games per year for several seasons, if two teams move to L.A. in 2016.

135 responses to “More countries could be hosting regular-season games

  1. Less home games for American fans, taking away games from Direct TV Sunday ticket. NFL will end up like pay per view boxing, profitable, but nowhere near its heyday.

  2. The NFL wants teams to give up a home game to play over seas. Players don’t want it, fans don’t like it and season ticket holders get screwed even harder but hey, whatever it takes to make more money right? I miss the NFL I grew up with

  3. this is great international football league nice! why cant we have universal football league another words like mars, Saturn, or Uranus host a game in football

  4. So, venues that use taxpayer money and provide 10 events per season, with only 8 being regular season games and possibility for two franchises to host an additional two events per year with top playoff seeding. Now the league wants to tell the taxpayers they have to pay for these stadiums and the league is going to take away one live event possibly.

    Mark Cuban is sounding like a very wise man.

  5. And the owners don’t want to pay for 4 cameras in the end zone of each stadium? The NFL is making Mark Cuban look like a genius!

  6. Soccer succeeds worldwide because each country has its own league. They NFL, and their arrogance in trying to monopolize the planet is stupid personified.

  7. Why don’t we open it up to other countries like that Olympics and have them bid on it?

    Oh wait, I know, it’s because they don’t give a damn about the game.

    You’ll never have sustainability or teams in those areas. It just doesn’t make logistical sense. So whats the point?

    People might go to the games to check them out but the NFL will never become Soccer. Soccer has been bred into the world wide, the NFL will never have a place in their hearts or minds.

    Focus on keeping the game great in this country. Get the damn cameras on the goal line. Even if they cost $1 million a piece plus operator cost, $4 mil per stadium, the NFL could afford 124 million it would cost.

    At least get them for the playoffs for the games that matter most. Stop the 18 game nonsense, keep the number of teams, keep the number of teams in the playoffs, get full time refs, keep the game in this damn country at least in North America. Keep the game great, don’t screw it up Rog.

  8. 17 game schedule (one per team at neutral site, inside or outside the US) would fixes all the complaints about losing a home game. Reduce the scam exhibitions to 2, and the players, owners, networks all make more $$$ while reducing one game per year.

  9. This madness HAS to STOP!! This is NOT gonna end well for anyone, the fans, the owners. Only Goodell and his golden parachute he uses for his jump from the crashing NFL shield.

  10. 20 years from now Americans won’t give a crap about the NFL because expansion and trying to break into new foreign markets will trump the local fan base and they will wake up and not care. People are paying for PSL’s and getting games ripped from them to play overseas.. how stupid is that?

  11. I actually don’t mind Mexico City as much as London. I worked as a chef in Phoenix and most of the Mexican nationals that I worked with were full fledged NFL fans. Albeit most were Cowboy fans but nonetheless it makes more sense than London.

  12. There ya go, focus on building an international fan base, to hell with us. Our tax $ go towards their venues so they can make more $ and then send our home games elsewhere. Thank you IFL

  13. What they should do is take the first full preseason game, call it International Week, and send teams around the world to play. Okay, they have to ship a few more players out there, but I’m pretty sure that’s a cost that the NFL can deal with. Doesn’t upset the competitive balance of the season, international fans are happy enough seeing at least a quarter or two of the star players (I say this as an international fan myself – the promo stuff they do probably has as much, if not more, reach than the game itself), and it solves some of the whining from season ticket holders about having to pay overs for the preseason games.

    It probably wouldn’t hurt the evaluation process of teams too much, the long trips might even help to build team camaraderie and give coaches a better sense of who is good at phasing out distractions.

  14. Great. Let’s even have the season openers in Japan or Australia like MLB has done. Us fans in the US fans won’t mind.

  15. Wait the NFL has offices in China but can’t afford a few fixed cameras at every stadium to assist in getting the calls for the actual game correct……What a joke

  16. Next thing you know Goodell will be trying to get the LA teams to play games in St. Louis and San Diego.

  17. Would be cool if they had a game for troops overseas…. Other than that keep it in America.

  18. Ya know, when I was younger I used to watch pretty much all sports. Over the past 20 years or so it narrowed to only the NFL. What surprises me is that it is soon going to be no sports and I am not going to miss them at all.

  19. Make BB an ambassador. Heard he read poetry at the last meeting on how The NFL shares universal harmony.

  20. Maybe Israel or even Madagacar should have a game. Tax free duty zones are good spot for NFL games. I dont know, I feel like the NFL is more interested in profits than product. How much do you spend a year?

  21. Roger, I know Greed has been embeded in your DNA since birth, but you dont have to run the NFL like a Wall Street Firm. You are a facilitator not a Dictator…

  22. Well if that’s the case I will begin weaning myself off of the NFL. It was the money of the American fan who built this dynasty and now they screw us by giving it away to other countries. Thanks for your loyalty Roger after we have paid out so much to be loyal (beyond loyal) to our teams. Roger and the owners think they can do whatever they want and not have to worry about loosing viewers in stadium or in home because we love football so much nothing will stop us from watching. Well not true for this fan. One more game out of country besides the ones they have already stolen from us in London and Montreal and I’m done. Count on it. I live in Columbus so I can easily get my fix from Ohio State.

  23. Why is it the teams hosting it have to give it up? If you want to build a base, send the best teams. Have the two teams in the Super Bowl rematch internationally.

  24. If they must do it, just let the crappy teams that no one really cares about (jags, Titans etc) play there. Only ones suffering would be their fan base. No one wants to see the top tier teams play in a diff country.

  25. The rest of the world may, or may not, become more interested in American football but I’m pretty sure I won’t care by then.

  26. Such a bunch of BS taking a teams home games away from them and their fans.

    Who cares about Mexico and Germany and London and Toronto and wherever the hell else they want to try and make a mockery of the NATIONAL Football League, a sport and a league that AMERICANS have made popular and helped to become a multi-billion dollar business, with their hard-earned money.

  27. W.E.L. World Entertainment League. Heaven forbid Americans have a sport of their own. Baseball ditched that years ago along with basketball. Here’s a thought, Germany, UK, Japan. .. field a team and play us heads up. If you are within 21 points we’ll talk. Otherwise, keep your lovely soccer and leave FOOTBALL alone. Got it Rog?

  28. 17 regular season games ( 8 home/8 away + 1 neutral site) & 3 Preseason games. Put the neutral sites on Thurs night and give teams byes beforehand. Besides other countries there are underserved US cities that would love to host games between two NFL Teams ( LA, San Antonio, Orlando, Milwaukee, Portland, Cleveland)

  29. “and we have offices in those three countries.”

    Offices?!?! What exactly happens in the NFL Mexico office? How many people work there? What do they all do? What is a typical day? Are they hiring? I am excellent at doing nothing and would be an awesome candidate.

  30. Play a game in Toronto. They have an outstanding record of supporting NFL football. They only gave away 10,000 tickets for the last Bills in Toronto game.

  31. Unless they are going to have the teams play for our troops overseas, then no games should be played overseas at all. We only get 8 home games as it is. Yet the NFL expects us to pay high prices for those games and to subsidize new stadiums. Enough is enough! No more games outside of the states!

  32. This really infuriates me. The fans have been extremely vocal about not wanting games in London but clearly the league doesn’t care one bit what fans think if they’re planning on going even MORE global. Their obsession with milking every possible dollar out of the brand is truly disgusting. I am so sick of the greed!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Listen, all of you guys that disagree with this and still attend games are as much to blame as Roger.

    It’s time to stop attending games for a while until they realize they are doing this for our business.

    They need to be reminded that they need our hard earned money more than we need their watered down version of football.

  34. I don’t mind a pre-season game or the pro bowl being played overseas, but no regular season games. Somebody like J.J. Watt needs to put their foot down and just say “no, I’m not going”.

  35. Roger is dead set on establishing a team in Antarctica – but wants to hold a Super Bowl there first

    (Hey it IS summer down there come February!)

  36. Time to drop the NFL off my to Sunday to do list. Only way these clowns will get the message is if people stop watching. There are only 2 games each week worth watching anyway.

    Games are becoming unwatchable as well. Between the 40 penalties per game and 40 commercials, and the incompetent refs, and 10 minute replays that should take 30 seconds.

  37. The arrogance of the NFL. And all they have to do is say, “Like you’re not going to watch us play.” Fans will take whatever the NFL smacks them with and like it.

  38. You anti-international series people crack me up with your fear and ignorance… I understand that the forefathers of this country wanted God and Football to be reserved for his chosen nation of America, but it’s time open up and realize that the world is bigger than the the U.S. and there is a market for a great game in other great destinations. You are just selfish, close-minded and afraid.

  39. This is a travesty. I realize there is money in the expansion to the international market.

    However, you’re not making enough money in the U.S.A.?

    If this becomes a “GBL” Global Football League. Than this fan, as well as many others I would suspect, would have to seriously second guess whether or not going to games to support their greed is worth it.

  40. Let them have preseason then. That way us hard working Americans will not get screwed by paying full price for a meaningless game. But just like everything else we will get the short end of the stick. Big conglomerates as well as our own government is slowing sucking the life out of us.

  41. I have an idea!!! How about fixing the problems that already exist i.e. officiating, cheating by certain teams/people, owner coercion ect… before epanding into new territorys and creating even more and bigger problems. Un friggin believable

  42. I don’t mind the London games or the pre-season games outside the U.S., but enough is enough. You can’t export the season and retain your fanbase at the same time.

    Stop looking at the neighbors grass and work on making our grass greener.

  43. Geez, people. Roger has nothing to do with this. He is the commissioner, a representative of the owners. He is not a God. He does not have control over these issues. Scream at the owners (especially Kraft and Mara) that want these games outside the U.S..

  44. 2 West Coast teams should play a game (preseason or regular season) in Australia. NFL is huge here. We have a 100,000 seat stadium in Melbourne (although its oval shaped) and are used to holding major events. The flight is long but there’d be a heap of cash in it. Particularly for teams looking to move to LA if they are short on a stadium for a year they can fill in a game down here

  45. Seriously, Germany is actually the only country that makes sense. It’s right in the middle of Europe and very accessible unlike the island that is the UK.

    It is the only country that had thousand willing to show up and pay to be on scene for the terrible NFLE – for years.

  46. It’s also really funny how every comment about this topic includes “fans don’t want it.” I can assure you, that there are a lot of people around the world who care to see these teams.

    You call the Super Bowl winner the “World Champs” but you want nothing to do with the rest of the world?

  47. Oh seriously, quit your bitching folks.. none of you are missing out on anything unless you miss one of your homegames.

    You can see every game on your fat butts from the comfort of your home which is how the VAST majority of fans see those games. You get the awesome sport you get now because of decisions based on making it the most profitable sport in our country.. these are POSSIBLE efforts to do the same.
    But nah, let’s keep everything exactly the same for you fossils. How great would it be if the sport became more popular overseas? More teams, more players, bigger market…etc etc.

    You narrow minded fools are part of the many problems plaguing our backwards-looking nation. Pfft..

  48. The only reason people would go to an NFL game from another country is for the spectacle! The like soccer over there and nothing can overtake that!! Don’t screw with the fans. I was in Germany last year and soccer is BIG!

  49. I think this is the wrong direction for the league to go in. The way to approach this would be to use the overseas markets to set up a developmental league or leagues.

    Mexico and Canada are no big deal, but the overseas travel complicates things too much. But Roger will push this through because all the NFL sees is dollar signs, and after a lengthy experiment it will fail.

    If this is such a great idea, why did NFL Europe fail?

    I think football can succeed overseas, but on a much smaller scale that the NFL is probably willing to consider. Start in 20-30k seat stadiums, not 60-80k. That will be tough enough. But that’s not a big enough pot of gold, I’m sure.

  50. Just stop already. I hate the fact that they play games overseas now. Enough is enough. Can’t we have one thing in this country that is just ours?

  51. Slowly but surely the NFL is starting to drive fans away. IF they continue to take games away from fans by playing in another country that could care less about the NFL people will eventually stop buying season tix, especially if the blackout rule isn’t reinvoked.

  52. The NFL is all about greed. They don’t care at all what fans and players want. This idea is so stupid, but they will force it because there is more money in it. They won’t stop until they ruin the sport.

  53. There is an underlying issue here as well that the NFL has to consider. Some convictions players have or will have in the US will prevent them from entering some foreign countries. A US misdemeanor simple assault conviction, even with no jail time will prevent a player from entering Canada. They’re rules are not the same as ours. They are hybrid which means simple assault can be either a felony or a misdemeanor and it is up to the judge. But when it applies Canadian Immigration law that governs even day trips to Canada there is no hybrid and they count all equivalent convictions as felonies. Drunk driving is in the same boat as well as drug convictions, even for pot. Since players can’t keep themselves out of court, wait until the first of potentially many of these start to pop up in the NFL public relations circus.

  54. The only way this will work is every team in a cycle gives up a home game and only non conference games never a divisional like the Dolphins this year with the jets

  55. I have been to London and other cities during the NFL season. They don’t care. They may go to a game for the entertainment, but they really don’t know the game. Real and ManU put 100k in the Big House. Will Detroit put 100k if they get a MLS team. NO.
    Goodell must go.

  56. Here’s something crazy: Add two weeks to the regular season. A 17th game and a second Bye week.

    The extra game will be a “neutral” game, which will give the NFL 16 additional games to play with, while still giving each team 8 guaranteed home games. These can change up every year, but will allow a presence in London, Mexico City, Toronto, etc… This also allows the NFL to host games in testing/former markets. Have a game at the Rose Bowl, the Horseshoe, the Orange Bowl. Makes the game more accessible for fans throughout the country by bringing games closer to them.

    The players get extra pay from the additional game revenue, as well as extra rest so they’re not playing (potentially/currently) 16 consecutive weeks*.

    *A Bye in week 4, a wild card seeding, and making it to the conference championship.

  57. Hosting games in Germany is a no-brainer. The whole NFL Europe ended up migrating there by the end of the league (well, 5 of 6 teams). They clearly have an appetite for American football and I’ve been wondering for years why we focus on London instead of chasing a market that’s already been fairly well prepped with the Frankfurt Galaxy, Berlin Thunder, Rhein Fire, Hamburg Sea Devils, and the Cologne Centurions.

    The US Market will hit NFL saturation incredibly soon. If you want revenues to keep increasing, you have to grow the fan base.

  58. This fascination with expansion has got to stop. I talk with lots of people and I don’t know anyone who wants to go down this path. Stop the madness. Stop Goodell. Save the NFL.

  59. I have been waiting for a long time for a major media player like PFT to at least discuss the potential of a 17 game season, and the sixteen neutral site games it produces, to solve a lot of the problems the NFL is making for itself.

  60. First they came to send the Jaguars to London,and I did not speak out –
    b/c I mean the Jaguars? Pfft…

    Then they came to send the Pro Bowl to Brazil, and I
    did not speak out –
    b/c the ProBowl? I mean seriously…

    Then they came for home Games in Germany, and I
    did not speak out-
    b/c… well, uh, hmmm…

    Then they came for my team, and there was no one,
    Now Hold on Just One Damn Second Here!!!

    (line shift)
    Gather ye Pitchforks Boys, Gather ye Pitchforks while ye May…

  61. As I have said before: The NFL is going where the NBA is. A small percentage of players determine the direction of the the entire league on-field. There is questionable officiating that affects the outcomes of games to the point where questions are raised.

    There is no doubt that the NFL is overplaying its’ hand and the “grass roots” fans know this. If the league keeps going in the direction that it is current on, don’t be too surprised if there is a similar response from the core fans as to what NASCAR has experience by getting too far away from the traditional fan-base.

  62. Agree with the getting rid of taking a home game for these games, and getting the league up to 16 “neutral site” games, and adding it as a 17th “neutral site” game for every team.

    Already have 3 London games.
    Toronto game (although that is barely a “neutral site” for Buffalo because of the proximity, it probably would count towards it).
    2 Mexico City games (one with Dallas, one with Houston).
    Add a west coast Canadian game (Edmonton?)
    2 in Germany
    1 in Japan
    1 in China (Ron Jawarski and some developers in Philly who own the AFL Soul are already starting up an Arena/indoor league this fall in China)
    2 in Los Angeles (Until they actually get a team themselves)
    1 in Australia maybe(?)
    2 in some other U.S. markets… and maybe move it around to be a “regional” game of interest, that is “neutral” but not far from either team…. Cincy vs. Cleveland @ Ohio State (although probably wouldn’t make that neutral site game inner division, would probably be another AFC vs. NFC game, maybe Cleveland vs. Washington)? Phily vs. Pittsburgh @ Penn State….. TB vs. Miami or Jax in Orlando. Lots of US market “event games” they could do to round it out.

  63. If the NFL actually paid for the current teams stadiums I would not have much of a problem with it but the taxpayers are funding these palaces. I read that the maryland stadium authority has it in the contract that all Ravens home games must be played in Baltimore. So I guess teams like Jax and Minneapolis can keep on losing home games

  64. Stop with the other countries garbage. Take care of the fans in this country. Define what a catch is properly. Your refs have trouble getting calls right with replays. Take the ref out of the middle of the defense so he isn’t used as a pick. speaking of picks ban them from football. If OC can’t design a play to get open without blocking during the route they need a new career.

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