LAS VEGAS (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sees football becoming a global sport within the next decade, with his league at the forefront of that effort.
That includes, Goodell said Tuesday, adding another international market to next year's regular-season schedule. He wasn't specific, but Brazil and Spain are the front-runners. An announcement is expected in the next month or two.
“We’re really excited about that,” Goodell said of entering a new market. “I don’t see that as much as expanding the number of franchises as I do expanding the opportunity for people to really just enjoy the game.”
Goodell was speaking at a forum that included officials from Las Vegas teams and events to promote the Super Bowl, which will be played at Allegiant Stadium on Feb. 11.
He said the league's championship game will return to Las Vegas many times after this season.
“I think probably I would not have said 10 years ago that I would see myself sitting here for a Super Bowl,” Goodell said. “But I’m not surprised because I think the leadership here in this community saw the opportunity and had the vision. One thing I’ve seen, when they get involved, they’re going to get something.”
Goodell said, according to CBS, that advertising sold out for this Super Bowl earlier than usual.
The Super Bowl was touted at the forum as the biggest event to ever occur in Las Vegas, a city known for hosting major events, including a Formula One race that recently took place.
But now the city also is becoming known as a professional sports town, and the Raiders have played no small part in that.
“(The NFL's) commitment to Las Vegas matters to us,” said Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “You have changed Las Vegas. Allegiant Stadium has changed Las Vegas.”
Goodell said Las Vegas even furthers the mission to grow the game globally because it's an international destination.
He said the fact the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles is adding flag football will benefit the NFL's mission to grow the game beyond the nation's shores.
That has been the league's goal since it began playing regular-season in other countries about 15 years ago. Five regular-season games were played overseas this season — three in the London and two in Germany.
“I am convinced that this game is going to be a global sport,” Goodell said. "We could've sold over our two games in Germany 4.5 million tickets. They sold out in minutes. And it’s literally the same with the U.K. I think you’re going to see a very global NFL, not necessarily with franchises, but maybe like have one playing games on a global basis. And I see that happening in the next five to 10 years."
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Mark Anderson, The Associated Press