NFL to make history with first ever game to be held in South America

The NFL is breaking more ground internationally with the announcement of the first ever regular season game to be held in South America as part of an expansion of games outside of the USA.

Sao Paulo will host a regular season game in 2024 ahead of the NFL doubling their slate of international games from four to eight in 2025 - which will be nine overall as the Jacksonville Jaguars organise their annual game at Wembley Stadium themselves.

“Bringing the NFL to new continents, countries and cities around the world is a critical element of our plan to continue to grow the game globally," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. 

“Brazil has established itself as a key market for the NFL, and we are excited to be playing in Brazil and São Paulo for the first time in 2024. We look forward to working with the city of Sao Paulo, SP Turis and Corinthians Arena to deliver a world-class game day experience for this passionate and growing fan base."

With the third-biggest market behind the USA and Mexico, the NFL has accounted for 38 million fans in Brazil, so playing a game there has been in the plans for some time.

And Sao Paulo has been chosen as host city, with the venue suitable for NFL being the Corinthians Arena that was built in 2014 and will seat 49,000.

“The National Football League's decision to bring a regular season game to Sao Paulo is significant and exciting for the city, consolidating Sao Paulo and Brazil at the center of the global sporting stage," said Mayor of Sao Paulo Ricardo Nunes.

“Through our hard work, we will now be able to welcome the NFL to our city, hosting this historic game that will have a positive impact on tourism, employment and the city's economy."

It means that next year there will be three games in London, two at Tottenham and one at Wembley, along with one in Brazil and a return to Munich in Germany - so far just for one game but the NFL doubled it to two in Frankfurt this season so could well do that again.

And in 2025 they now have scope to add games in other popular markets they've been looking at such as Spain, France and even Ireland, while Mexico could get back onto the rota.

The move continues the NFL's new strategy of nurturing international fans and taking games around the globe in the style of F1 races rather than the original idea for global expansion involving teams being based in different countries.

Fan loyalty and logistics make it far easier to stage games and cultivate existing team fanbases rather than hosting teams abroad.

Teams have been given options of claiming international marketing rights in countries around the world where they can grow their fanbases, sell merchandise and stage events to grow their core of fans to grow the game in that way.

The Miami Dolphins are currently the only team to hold marketing rights in Brazil so they could well be on the shortlist to make history and play in the first South American regular season game.

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