The NFL already has a strong base in England, and after pushing into Germany last year, it sees Spain as its next conquest. The NFL is plotting to host games in two of the country’s most hallowed grounds. Those are the Santiago Bernabeu, the home of Real Madrid, and the Metropolitano, which Atletico Madrid calls home.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the NFL is looking at Spain and Brazil as potential locations for regular season NFL matches. Over the next three weeks, the league is playing three games in London. Two of those games are at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, while the first is at Wembley. Spurs’ ground is the NFL’s outpost in the UK. Spain and Brazil have never hosted an NFL game.
NFL Executive Vice President Peter O’Reilly said the NFL is constantly looking at new locations and ways to change the popularity of the game. There are five games in Europe this year, with three in London and two in Germany. He says interest is coming in from other countries.
“You’ve got some classic soccer clubs around the world who are really interested in hosting the NFL and building a relationship with the NFL. So the marriage of those two — there’s interests there for sure, and it’s just determining the timing and the approach.”
NFL wants Spain as next international host
Last year, the NFL gave international marketing rights in Spain to the Chicago Bears and the Miami Dolphins. Schefter mentioned next season, the Bears have nine home games in their 17-game schedule. That imbalance could allow Chicago some flexibility to play one of those home games outside of Chicago. That differs from the Jaguars, which have played a game in London each year for the last 10 seasons including 2023. The Jags did not play in London during the 2020 season due to COVID-19.
Much like Tottenham’s new stadium, both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid play in lavish new venues. While the Metropolitano is a new construction, the Santiago Bernabeu underwent heavy renovations to update the stadium. The NFL can take advantage of those improvements to enhance the fan experience as it looks to grow its base in Europe. Last year brought the first game in Germany to great success. Allianz Stadium in Munich hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks in a one-score game.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Osnapix
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