WHERE SHOULD THE NFL PLAY NEXT?
Everyone knows that another international NFL game is coming in the near future. Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II all but confirmed it in a recent interview with Sky Sports. But nobody knows for certain just exactly where, or when it’s going to happen!
A Steelers game in Dublin seems like the most obvious and likely outcome. Since being awarded international marketing rights back in May, the organization has invested significantly in growing an already well established fan base in Ireland. This includes launching a podcast (which yours truly proudly co hosts) and announcing the first ever NFL fan watch party,which takes place in November.The latter sold out in less than 24 hours! Could you imagine how quickly an NFL game in Dublin would sell?
But Dublin isn’t the only major European city that could potentially soon be hosting an NFL fixture. Madrid, Paris and even Rome have all been touted as venues; testament to the massive popularity and demand for American football on this side of the Atlantic! Of these options, Paris and Madrid strike me as strongly suited. Both cities are already home to professional American football franchises ( the Musketeers and newly formed Bravos of the European League of Football) The Madrid side will begin competing in 2024 and join the Barcelona Dragons as the second ELF team in Spain. This addition could possibly suggest that Spain holds an advantage when it comes to selecting a venue for future NFL games in Europe. Having said that, Paris has the edge in terms of hosting major international sporting events. The Rugby World Cup is currently in full swing there, and will be followed swiftly by the 2024 Olympics in Paris next summer.
It would be remiss of me to not mention the fact that the NFL has already staged a regular season game on mainland Europe. The Buccaneers and Seahawks made history in November of 2022 when they squared off in Munich’s Allianz Arena. American football is absolutely massive in Germany, and fans showed their love of the game by turning up in their droves. Their reward? Two more NFL games in Germany this November including a possible AFC Championship Game preview between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs. The New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts will square off a week later, and given the fact that both these jousts were sellouts, it would be no surprise to see the series morph into a tripleheader in the future. Germany also boasts a semi professional American football league. The GFL is world renowned, and has even spawned an NFL draftee in Moritz Böhringer. All this is testament to the deep roots of American football in the Bundesland.
Wherever or whenever this new addition to the NFL’s International roster materializes, there is no denying the fact that the league is rapidly gaining momentum on this side of the Atlantic. Where would you like to see the next NFL International game played? Let us know in the comments!