SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A future regular-season NFL game in Mexico or Germany was discussed by NFL owners Wednesday.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said both countries have reached out about hosting games, and there is “renewed interest” among the owners. The league is intent on expanding its international series, and it will have three games in London this season for the second straight year.
Arizona hosted San Francisco in Mexico City in 2005, drawing a record crowd of 103,467 for a regular-season game.
There have been five preseason matches played in Germany, none since 1994.
Goodell also says Rio de Janeiro has shown interest in staging a Pro Bowl.
The commissioner cites the “passion for our game and taking it to another level” for the league pursuing more international matches.
There is speculation that any game in Mexico would be played in Monterrey or Guadalajara, not Mexico City. Azteca is the biggest stadium in the country.
However, the iconic ballpark that has hosted two World Cups needs major renovations to bring it closer to the level of the newest stadiums in Mexico such as Omnilife in Guadalajara, or the new BBVA Stadium in Monterrey.
Monterrey hosted an NFL preseason game in 1996.
But no one should rule out the capital city.
Last November, Mexico City secretary of economic development Salomón Chertorivski met with 49ers owner John York regarding the possibility of a game. That was the first public admission the NFL might return to Mexico.
In recent months, Mexico City’s government has made strong efforts to attract major international events. Formula 1 will be coming back for the first time in 23 years, and last November the NBA held the second regular-season game in history in the country when the Timberwolves faced the Rockets.
“We already have great events in Mexico City. We have Formula 1, the NBA, the UFC, we’re trying to bring a NHL game also, and we are also looking to bring Major League Baseball,” said Horacio De la Vega, the director of Mexico City’s Sports Institute.
“We had a couple of visits from people from the NFL in Mexico City to check the stadiums. I think there will be a third very soon; we held conversations with the NFL because we’re focused in making this happen.”
De la Vega added they’re trying to sign a three-year deal with the NFL.
“There are many things to work out. It’s not the same locker room for 20 soccer players than one for 53 NFL ones, plus staff and their equipment. We need to be ready,” said Arturo Olive, NFL Mexico*s director. “Azteca Stadium and Estadio Olimpico have the most capacity, and that gives them a slight edge. But so far, there’s nothing ruled out.”
Olive thinks the major events to be held in Mexico City also help with enticing the NFL to return.
“It plays a role,” he said. “We’re using these events as an example to give them certainty that when they decide to come back, we are ready and holding world class events right now.”
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