The NFL has found another city outside the United States to host a regular-season game. The Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders will travel to Mexico City for a showdown next season.
Over the last decade, London has hosted 14 NFL games. These games have brought in immense revenue and the league doesn’t plan to stop – three more games are schedule in London for 2016.
But this year, the NFL wants to see how Mexico will handle an NFL game with two unexciting teams. The Texans–Raiders battle will be the first game in Mexico City since 2005 when the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers squared off. That game, played in Estadio Azteca, brought in 103,467 fans.
Roger Goodell is hoping this game will help to expand the NFL’s audience into yet another country. Many coaches around the league agree, including Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.
“It’s great because it’s an opportunity for us to continue to build a fan base,” Rivera said. I think that’s important as far as bringing football in different communities, different cultures and different countries.”
While the earnings will be important, the NFL is also looking out for their future as next year’s Super Bowl is set to be played at NRG Stadium in Houston. The Texans want to draw in as many fans as they can and that includes those in Mexico.
When Bob McNair, the owner of the Texans, made his pitch to host Super Bowl 51, the ability to draw in Mexican fans played a major role. With Houston’s proximity to Mexico, it seems as if this could be another lucrative idea for the league.
Mexico City may not be the end of the NFL’s expansion plans as the executive vice president of NFL International, Mark Waller, said the league hopes to have a regular season game in Germany in 2017.
With the NFL hoping to establish itself as a global brand, there’s no telling where franchises may have to travel for regular season games.