NFL thinking global with more regular-season games

Updated: September 27, 2005, 9:51 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- The NFL could schedule more regular-season games outside the United States if Sunday's game in Mexico City is a success, the league's chief operating officer said Tuesday.

Roger Goodell expects Azteca Stadium to be sold out for a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals, the first regular-season game held outside the U.S. If the game generates the interest and attention expected by the league, future games could be headed to Asia and Europe.

"We want to hold or reserve judgment on that until we've been through this, but we know there's growing interest in playing regular-season games" outside the U.S., Goodell said in a conference call.

Among the destinations to be considered are England, Japan, China and Canada, as well as another game in Mexico.

The league chose Mexico City for its first international regular-season game both because of its proximity and the sport's growing popularity. Hispanics in the U.S. also cite football as their favorite sport, surpassing even soccer, according to the league.

The NFL has played several exhibition games in foreign countries in the last two decades, including a preseason game between Indianapolis and Atlanta in Japan this year.

"We have such great interest," Goodell said. "We have a great fan base in Mexico. It's been growing dramatically over the last several years, and we're responding to that interest. It's also going to be a great opportunity to understand more about playing a game internationally."

Both teams will receive undisclosed financial considerations from the NFL to make the trip a profitable one.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press