It didn’t take long for the Monday Night Football game between the Texans and the Oakland Raiders to sell out. In less than a half hour every seat had been spoken for.
Who says that south of the border they don’t like a little American Football? While we won’t be hearing Andres Cantor making any spectacular “GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL” calls in this game, there will certainly be much to cheer about.
The game will be played at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. It has not hosted an NFL game since 2005, a game in which the Arizona Cardinals defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-14.
The NFL has become very popular in Mexico in recent years, and has been touted as the largest international market for the NFL.
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The league has been playing games in London for quite some time now, and there has been murmurings of perhaps a franchise going to London. But honestly, I don’t think there will ever be an NFL franchise outside of the United States.
The novelty of the games is what makes them so popular in these certain markets. The fact it only comes around a few times a year in London is what takes people away from watching Chelsea or Arsenal face off with Liverpool or Manchester United.
Still with Goodell’s aggressive agenda I wouldn’t rule anything out. But the only city outside of the United States I could see hosting an NFL team full time is Toronto. They have a big enough population there that they could sell out games each week, they have the Toronto Raptors in the NBA and Blue Jays in Major League Baseball, and of course the Maple Leafs. They are the most integrated with American sports which is why an NFL team might have a chance of succeeding there.
An NFL team would never work in Mexico City full time. No free agents would want to sign there because of drug cartel violence and lower standard of living. London would have a high enough standard of living but would have a hard time signing free agents because of the travel.
Still, it’s great to see the footprint of the league continuing to expand. Like all sports, it takes time to spread and this is just one step in making American Football a globally watched game.