Sports

Madrid, the NFL’s latest international conquest

By Carlos Mateos Gil

Madrid, Feb 9 (EFE).- Madrid will host an official NFL game in 2025, with the renovated Santiago Bernabéu Stadium as a venue, the league confirmed Friday at a press conference in Las Vegas, just days before the Super Bowl match between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The NFL’s arrival in Spain is part of an international expansion strategy, which includes hosting official regular-season games outside the United States.

It started in 2005 when the San Francisco 49ers played against the Arizona Cardinals in front of more than 100,000 fans at Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium.

That game served as the precursor to the NFL’s International Series, an initiative that transformed what used to be an occasional event into a regular one.

The inaugural game was a matchup between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants, played in London at Wembley Stadium in 2007.

Originally, London had exclusive rights to host these international games until 2015, organizing one or two games each year at its iconic stadium.

While London has continued to host games annually, other venues such as Twickenham and Tottenham Stadium have joined the lineup, and many more countries have had the privilege to host eversince.

The Azteca Stadium has hosted games in 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2022. Canada has also hosted an annual Buffalo Bills game for several seasons.

In 2022, Germany hosted a game between Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks in Munich, while Frankfurt hosted matchups between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins, as well as the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts in 2023.

Looking ahead to the next season, London and Munich will host games again, and Brazil will be added to the list as the Philadelphia Eagles have already confirmed to play their first season’s game in Sao Paulo.

Franchise owners voted in December to increase the number of NFL games played outside the United States from four to eight starting in 2025.

In addition to Barcelona, cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Dublin, and Sydney were also considered.EFE

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