The NFL will play five regular-season games — one per season — in Mexico starting in 2017 or 2018, according to a report from the Spanish news organization AS.com.
Games in Mexico would add to the NFL’s slate of international series contests being played in London. Two teams have played at least one regular-season game at Wembley Stadium since 2007.
The NFL recently said it was looking to play more international games and considering potential sites in Germany, Mexico and Brazil.
“We’re taking steps in the right direction so that eventually, this platform (of sponsors) which we have reconstructed will enable us to talk directly to the NFL in New York about the possibility of staging games in Mexico,” NFL Mexico director Arturo Olive told AS.com. “It will be for five games, not three as originally proposed.”
NFL spokesman Michael Signora told Pro Football Talk on Friday that the report was at least “premature.”
“We are pleased with the growth in fan demand and the increased partner support we have enjoyed in recent years,” Signora said. “With this in mind, we are actively assessing the opportunity to play games in Mexico. We have visited several stadiums in recent months, and are analyzing what needs to be done to bring games to Mexico. It is premature to comment specifically as to when this will happen, let alone how many, if any, games might be played.”
The last time Mexico hosted an NFL game was in 2005 when the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers played during the regular season. The game drew over 100,000 fans at Mexico’s Azteca stadium. Olive said Azteca would not be considered a host stadium in this latest proposal.
This season, there will be three games in London — the Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets on Oct. 4, the Buffalo Bills vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 25 and the Detroit Lions vs. the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 1.
Last month, the NFL and Tottenham Hotspur agreed to a 10-year partnership allowing the NFL to play a minimum of two games per year to be held at the English Premier League team’s new stadium in London.
Tottenham Hotspur is building a new home field to replace White Hart Lane, which is nearly 116 years old. The new 61,000-seat venue, adjacent to its current stadium, is due to open in the summer of 2018.
In addition to the minimum of two games per year at the new Tottenham site, other NFL games may take place at different venues in the UK during the span of the 10-year agreement.
The NFL has two seasons remaining on the arrangement with Wembley Stadium and the league said it is optimistic that the relationship will be extended beyond 2016.
Distributed by LAKANA and The Sports Xchange