The National Football League (NFL) has awarded 18 franchises overseas marketing rights in eight different countries for the next five years through its International Home Marketing Areas programme.
Nine NFL teams have been awarded marketing rights in Mexico, the most of any country, with that including the Dallas Cowboys, who previously stated their intention to expand their fanbase south of the US border.
The Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers also all gained marketing rights in Mexico.
Six teams have been awarded marketing rights in the UK, which is the most of any European country. That number includes the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have effectively acted as a pilot franchise for the programme having played in London every year since 2013, excluding 2020.
In addition to the Jaguars, the Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers have all been awarded marketing rights in the UK.
Germany, where the NFL estimates it has more than 19 million fans, was also subject to high interest. The country is set to host an international fixture in 2022 and now four teams have been given access to its market. Those are the Carolina Panthers, the Chiefs, the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Elsewhere in Europe, the Dolphins and Bears have also been given approval to activate commercially in the Spanish market.
In addition to Mexico, the Rams received exclusive rights to Chinese and Australian markets, while the Dolphins have commercial exclusivity in Brazil.
The Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, both based near the Canadian border, have gained access to their neighbouring country’s market.
The International Home Marketing Areas programme will see teams bid to develop their fanbases in their allotted territories using a variety of marketing, commercial and fan engagement activations from 1st January 2022.
Teams will be able to host events, open retail outlets, develop youth programmes and sell regional sponsorship deals, as well as market limited media rights within each region.
According to the Sports Business Journal (SBJ), 28 bids were submitted by 19 different teams for various international marketing rights.
“NFL fandom begins with our clubs,” said Christopher Halpin, the NFL’s executive vice president and chief strategy and growth officer.
“This important initiative enables NFL teams to develop meaningful, direct relationships with NFL fans abroad, driving fan growth and avidity globally. We were very pleased with the number, creativity and level of commitment of club proposals across the board in this initial application period and look forward to teams launching their efforts early next year.”
In Germany, Bayern Munich’s 75,000 seater Allianz Arena home has been backed by the city’s council as a host venue for the NFL’s International Series game in 2022. Munich was recently revealed as one of three German cities shortlisted as potential hosts for the game, along with Frankfurt and Dusseldorf.
Earlier this month, the NFL appointed Alexander Steinforth to lead growth in Germany, as it looks to drive fan engagement and commercial growth within the country.