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Former IMG exec to drive NFL’s international growth

The National Football League has appointed Peter Griffiths as chief operating officer of its NFL International division.

Griffiths will be responsible for NFL offices in China and Mexico, and will also oversee the analysis of growth opportunities in new territories such as Brazil and Germany. He will report to Mark Waller, executive vice-president of NFL International. Additionally, Griffiths will oversee the American football league’s international sponsorship and licensing businesses.

Prior to joining the NFL, Griffiths, 53, held several senior positions at the IMG agency. During a 26- year career there, he most recently ran IMG’s Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket business, where he was based in London and Mumbai.

“Peter is an experienced sports industry executive with a strong track record of success in the development of sports properties around the world,” Waller said. “His proven leadership skills will enable the NFL to continue to grow internationally.”

Speaking last month, Waller said the NFL is “absolutely” on track to introduce a full-time team in London by 2022 while plans are progressing to stage regular-season games in Germany. He added that the International Series is likely to be expanded in 2017, with Germany and Mexico being the focus of the efforts.

In Germany, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf are the most likely candidates, although Berlin and Munich are also under consideration. In Mexico, the first step will be attempting to bring pre-season games to the capital, Mexico City, in the short term, and possibly holding a training camp in the country.

The league has already announced that it is considering moving the February 2017 Pro Bowl to Brazil, while the NFL is focusing on digital media-rights distribution in China.