NFL Won't Play Game in Mexico in 2023; League May Hold 2 Games in Germany

Erin WalshDecember 14, 2022

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - NOVEMBER 21: The logo for the game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals at Estadio Azteca on November 21, 2022 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The NFL will not hold a game in Mexico in 2023, and it is "likely" that two games will be held in Germany instead, league executive Peter O'Reilly said Wednesday, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, where the NFL has held all of its past Mexico games, is set to undergo renovations for the World Cup, hence why the league will not have teams meet in the country next year.

Estadio Azteca is one of three stadiums in Mexico set to host World Cup matches in 2026, joining Estadio Akron in Guadalajara and Estadio BBVA in Monterrey. World Cup matches will also be played across the United States and Canada.

The Estadio Azteca renovations are expected to take two years to complete. If that's the case, the NFL may not be playing a game in Mexico in 2024, either.

The first time the NFL held a game in Mexico was 2005, when the Arizona Cardinals defeated the San Francisco 49ers. After an 11-year absence, the league returned with a matchup between the Oakland Raiders (who now reside in Las Vegas) and Houston Texans in 2016.

The NFL also held games in Mexico in 2017, 2019 and 2022. The Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs were supposed to meet in the country in 2018, but the game was moved to L.A. due to poor field conditions at Estadio Azteca.

In November, the NFL announced that it had committed to having an annual game in Germany through 2025, with games hosted in Munich and Frankfurt. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks played in the league's first-ever regular-season game in Germany this season at Allianz Arena.

The NFL has seen solid interest from fans in Germany, so it's no surprise the league is considering another game overseas. The Bucs-Seahawks game drove in 5.8 million viewers on NFL Network and tickets to the game were sold out, with a crowd of 69,811 attending at Allianz Arena.

In addition to Mexico and Germany, the NFL has also played at least one game in England every year since 2007, except for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Games have been played at Wembley Stadium, Twickenham Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

With at least a couple of games being played internationally each season, it's clear the NFL is committed to building its global footprint.