Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL American football league, has confirmed that Mexico will host a regular-season game next season and suggested that installing a permanent franchise in London is a “realistic possibility”.
The Oakland Raiders v Houston Texans game on November 21 will take place at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. The event will mark the league’s first return to Mexico since 2005 and the first Monday Night Football game to be staged outside of the US.
The largest ever attendance for an NFL game was 112,376 for a pre-season contest between the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers in Mexico City in 1994.
“We are coming back to Mexico next season,” Goodell said during his state-of-the-league address ahead of the Super Bowl, which took place yesterday. “We're very excited about being back, we have a tremendous following down in Mexico. We believe it will be a tremendous success.”
Goodell added that he expects the number of games played in London every year to increase from three in the coming seasons.
“Every year I go back to London and I see the fans are more sophisticated, they understand the game more, they are following it more,” he said. “I believe in the future we will see more games in the UK. As for a franchise, let's continue to grow, let’s continue to see that excitement, enthusiasm, passion and support continue to develop. If it does, I think it is a realistic possibility.”
On Friday, the NFL also confirmed that the league was looking at the possibility of taking the annual Pro Bowl to Australia, and outlined markets such as Brazil, Canada, China and Germany as priorities.
“We have looked at a very specific proposal and it’s not blue sky reporting,” Mark Waller, the NFL executive vice-president of international said, according to the Reuters news agency, when asked about staging the Pro Bowl in Sydney or Melbourne.
“A regular-season game is not going to be feasible at least in the present because of travel and logistics. But something like the Pro Bowl, that is at the end of our season and is a celebration for our players… is something we did feel is attractive, particularly in the southern hemisphere at that time of year. Whether that’s Rio or Australia, it's definitely something we’re looking at.”