The NFL has long wanted to increase its brand image outside the United States. On Thursday Albert Breer of NFL.com reported that the league is looking into expanding into overseas markets, zeroing in on Canada, China, and Mexico.
Both Canada and Mexico have hosted regular season games, while China has always been in the mix. London will play host to 3 regular season games this coming season. Brazil has been mentioned as a Pro Bowl location. All locations are great to help showcase the NFL brand. However, the most interesting comment from Breer’s reported was from Mark Waller, the NFL’s international chief, stating that the league wanted a team playing in Europe full-time by 2022.
The NFL is not the NBA, MLB, or NHL. These leagues are at the top of their respective sports ladders. International players enjoy playing in those leagues and bring global eyeballs. American gridiron football is a great game, but is a hard sell outside the United States. Canada and Mexico allow for limited exposure on the Nirth American continent, but even in Mexico global futbol wins out.
The NFL is at a tipping point with international expansion. The league needs to focus on improvements within its current state and then move on to building appeal in foreign markets .