A future regular-season NFL American football game in Mexico or Germany, along with the potential staging of the Pro Bowl in Rio de Janeiro, has been discussed by the league’s franchise owners.
Speaking at a press conference following a league meeting in San Francisco on Wednesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said both Mexico and Germany have reached out about hosting games, and there is “renewed interest” among the owners.
The NFL will stage three regular season games in London, England for the second straight year in 2015, and Mexico, Germany and Brazil have been touted as the most likely candidates as the league seeks further international expansion.
Goodell (pictured) said: “Particularly in Germany, we know there is some interest in playing a game over there. We know there is a renewed interest in playing a game in Mexico – a regular season game. I think we will evaluate that. There’s been some interest in playing a Pro Bowl in Rio. So we are going to evaluate all those.
“There’s a growing passion for our game on a global basis and we want to respond to it. We want to respond to it in the right way, in the right markets we think are a priority for us, so we can continue to grow this great game. We are excited about where we are. We are excited about the passion for our game and taking it to another level.”
The Arizona Cardinals hosted San Francisco 49ers in Mexico City in 2005, drawing a record crowd of 103,467 for a regular-season game. There have also been five preseason matches played in Germany, but none since 1994.
Media reports have suggested that Monterrey or Guadalajara, rather than the Mexican capital, are being targeted for the return of the NFL. In November, Mexico City secretary of economic development Salomón Chertorivski met with 49ers owner John York regarding the possibility of a game.
Horacio De la Vega, the director of Mexico City's Sports Institute, told the Associated Press news agency that they are attempting to secure a three-year deal with the NFL. He said: “We already have great events in Mexico City. We have Formula One, the NBA, the UFC, we're trying to bring an NHL game also, and we are also looking to bring Major League Baseball. We had a couple of visits from people from the NFL in Mexico City to check the stadiums. I think there will be a third very soon; we held conversations with the NFL because we're focused in making this happen.”
Arturo Olive, director of NFL Mexico, added: “There are many things to work out. It's not the same locker room for 20 soccer players than one for 53 NFL ones, plus staff and their equipment. We need to be ready. Azteca Stadium and Estadio Olimpico have the most capacity, and that gives them a slight edge. But so far, there's nothing ruled out.”