The NFL's push to make American football a global game has apparently reached New Zealand. Though the league is still working out the details, it is reportedly on the verge of announcing a pair of games to be played in the country later this year.
Continue for updates.
NFL to Announce New Zealand Series Wednesday
Monday, June 1
Clay Wilson of the Sunday Star Times in New Zealand reported Sunday that the NFL plans to announce a two-game series in the country later this week. The contests will take place at Eden Park and Wellington Regional Stadium, perhaps the two best-known venues in New Zealand.
The NFL has not confirmed the existence of these matchups. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio was unsuccessful in contacting the league's offices on the matter.
Details on the games are still emerging, but these will not be the typical preseason or regular-season contests we've seen the NFL host in other countries (most notably England). Wilson reports six teams will participate, sending players who did not make their final roster cut for an exhibition. The Dallas Cowboys, the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals are the only known franchises.
Two "high-profile" coaches, who went unnamed in Wilson's story, will select the rosters.
If confirmed, the New Zealand games will be the latest in a series of moves by the NFL designed to increase the league's international exposure. While the NFL is omnipresent in the United States—the league approaches $10 billion in annual revenue—American football remains a fringe sport in most overseas markets.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made public his goal of reaching a $25 billion annual revenue by 2027. Even as television ratings continue to hold steady stateside, there's no way the NFL can reach that goal via domestic revenue only. That's one reason Goodell has spearheaded a push into the international market, including yearly regular-season games in London.
Adding New Zealand to the portfolio will only help serve the league's purpose, even if the two games will lack star power.
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