NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says interest from outside the United States in hosting NFL games is growing.
Four games are scheduled to be played in London and one in Mexico City for the second straight year — the Mexico City game was scrubbed last year due to poor field conditions — and Goodell told Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal that the league has seen signs that they could be shipping more games abroad. The hangup is the supply.
“The reality is that the demand for playing those games is greater than we have in the inventory,” Goodell said. “But what we’re trying to do is, it’s a combination of the media, the events themselves, and our partnerships.”
The inventory is low because most teams don’t want to give up one of their eight home dates each year, which has led to suggestions that expanding the regular season could be tied to more international games as well as the prospect of putting a franchise in a different country. Goodell believes that a team would be supported, but other questions have to be answered.
“I have no doubt that the fanbase and the commercial opportunity is there [for a franchise],” Goodell said. “Can we do it competitively? Can we do it where our 32 teams can compete at a competitive level? And that’s critical. At the end of the day our game is our product.”
The Bears and Raiders will play this season’s first overseas game when they face off in London on October 6. That game will take place at Tottenham’s new stadium, which was designed with hosting NFL games in mind and Goodell’s comments suggest they’ll continue getting them.