REPORTS: NFL Teams to Play International Home Games Every Year

Published 03/28/2021, 1:50 PM EDT
HOUSTON, TX – FEBRUARY 1: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on before Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Carolina Panthers at Reliant Stadium on February 1, 2004 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)


The NFL has done an excellent job in the last few years of expanding its brand. Despite being a domestically popular sport, football has been able to cross the borders of North America.

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The NFL has become one of the biggest global sports brands in the world. Furthermore, the Super Bowl has been drawing major audiences across the globe. And it looks like they’re making the push to grow further.

A report from Ben Fischer of the Sports Business Journal notes that the NFL is increasing the number of international home games going forward.

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According to the report, each NFL franchise needs to play one international home game every 8 years. This comes off the back of the NFL deciding to increase the number of games in the regular season to 17 in the coming years.

Jan 3, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) scores a touchdown in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

With the number of games being expanded to 17, each NFL franchise will get to play one additional home game every alternate season.

This additional home game could be converted to an international fixture for some of these teams. For the franchises, they must now be prepared to make a trip to a different country to play a regular-season game.

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NFL attempting to expand international presence

The NFL has been playing several games internationally for almost 14 years now. These games first began in 2007, when the league began to travel to London to play one game in a season.

One game transformed into two in 2013, three in 2014, and then eventually four games in 2017. Aside from this, they’re also planning to host games in Mexico going forward.

Jan 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns cornerback M.J. Stewart (36) celebrates an interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first half of an AFC Wild Card playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

This past season was a halt to the NFL’s international presence. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL could not travel overseas to hold international games.

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The international games are expected to resume going forward into the new season. However, any travel restrictions could put a halt to the NFL’s plans going forward.

Are you excited for the NFL international games to resume? Is there any country you want to see host an international game?

These foreign trips are a great way for the league to drum up interest in the league. Furthermore, it allows them to get new eyeballs on not just the league, but the sport of football itself.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1146 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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