The NFL's Growing International Fan Base

Soccer is also clearly growing in Brazil. Their national league now has 32 teams and some matches attract more than 20,000 fans. It seems that Brazilians also love NFL football and the country is in third place, with 19.7 million fans. Canada, South Korea, Germany and the United Kingdom claim 7.21 million, 6.72 million, 6.6 million and 5.73 million fans respectively.

According to the NFL, the league has 67.5 million international fans mainly from Mexico, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and Brazil. Chris Halpin, director of strategy at the NFL, says that “our next 50 million fans will come from these international markets”. This season, the NFL will play 5 games outside the U. S., including a game between the Bucs-Seahawks in Munich.

Damani Leech, executive director of NFL International, said that Germany outperforms many other markets: “They are consuming sports without us having played games there”. Germany will host 4 games over the next 4 seasons, as agreed between the NFL and the German soccer league in the same way as it did with the English Premier League before playing games in London. Overall, international interest in the NFL is growing significantly and the league realizes that it is a great opportunity for growth. In markets such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada, there is a continuous demand for NFL football.

The NFL city that most resembles Buffalo %3D (results to be determined). Of course, the United States has the largest fan base. The NFL's first efforts to expand the game to an international market were in 1989 when they created the World Football League (WLAF). This series was seen as a way to expand international interest in American football but also served as a kind of springboard for future NFL contenders, hence the development aspect.

American football was popular in some countries outside of Americas long before social media and internet made it easier to keep up with the NFL -the best league in the world-. The NFL has rapidly increased its international fan base in recent years and with the NFL International Combine there's a strong chance that more international players will apply to the NFL in the future. The possibilities that this league could offer are endless and it offers great opportunities to young players from Europe as well as players from US who may not have been successful in the NFL. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have been Super Bowl champions last year and have had more than a million searches in past 12 months but they're not most popular NFL team in their home state.

Even though they didn't win first place in their home state they are most sought after team in more than half of countries analyzed (51 countries in total) including Sweden, Philippines and Australia. The NFL is not just an American-only game and can be enjoyed by people from all around world. With its growing international fan base it's clear that American football is here to stay and will continue to grow even more in years to come.

Sue Ayars
Sue Ayars

Wannabe travel fanatic. Freelance bacon fan. Incurable sushi trailblazer. Friendly music junkie. Infuriatingly humble zombie junkie.