How American Football Is Growing as a Worldwide Sport

For many years, American football has defined the American landscape. Factually, this is the most prominent sport in the United States. It is a game that brings people from various ethnic, racial, political, and religious backgrounds. To many, this game is seen as an integral part of American culture. According to a poll done by Harris in 2016, 33% of the American adults interviewed said this sport was their favorite. Baseball came in a close second, with 15% of the sample population saying it was their ultimate choice.

With the hype created around this game especially in the 21st century, the big question remains: is American football becoming a worldwide sport?

Even with the buzz created around this game in the United States, it still lags behind as far as global popularity is concerned. Nevertheless, the world we are in today is typically a global village. Technology has shrunk our planet, and information has become readily available to a huge section of the population. This has made it possible for NFL to popularize this game in other parts of the word, and the effort seems to bear some fruits.

The game changer

Since 2007, NFL has organized some tournaments in London, a tradition that has picked momentum. In 2017 for example, there were four games played in London, and the exciting bit is that a whopping 84, 500 fans turned up to watch as the Jacksonville Jaguars played against the Baltimore Ravens at Wembley Stadium.

The same stadium played host to 84,400 people a week later who thronged the venue to watch Miami Dolphins play against New Orleans Saints. A game between the Cardinals and the Rams played on October 22, 2017, attracted 74, 000 fans.

With the figures above showing that football can pick momentum in areas outside America, the end of 2017 saw NFL organize other tournaments in Azteca in Mexico, the major one being a thrilling game between Raiders and Patriots.


Way before NFL started organizing tournaments in London and Mexico, NFL players, former players, and owners were all over the world marketing the sport during the offseason. Robert Kraft, who is the owner of New England Patriots, together with 18 Hall of Famers visited Israel. The owner of Cowboys Jerry Jones with his 6 Hall of Fame players visited Mexico City, and Tom Brady, who is the Patriots’ quarterback went to Japan and China.

But even with all the promotion, can American football be adopted by all the countries around the world?

David Baker, the NFL Hall of Fame president believes that American football has brought cohesion among people from different walks of life in America, and he asserts that it can do the same for other countries if they adopted the sport.

Others, like Joe Montana who is the Hall of fame quarterback, believes that football can be a huge success outside America once people are made to understand the game.

American Football has started ‘diffusing’ in different countries!

China is one of the countries where American football has taken shape, and it is rising to become one of the most celebrated sport in this country that is home to over 1.3 billion people.

The game was introduced to this Asian nation by Zach Brown, a former Division one player. He worked in the international business world, and when he got to Shanghai, he wanted to continue playing football. He, together with Chris McLaurin, a former college player, fashioned the American Football League of China (AFLC).

A League that started as a joke has 16 teams with about 5,000 players. Experts project that this number will grow tremendously, and the sport will spread to other parts of Asia and the world at large, killing the perception that American football is specially made for America.

There are about 80 countries around the globe that have well-organized federations that govern this sport according to the International Federation of American Football. IFAF projects that there are dozens of people across the world who play this game at different levels.

Also, American Football International, a site designed to promote American football, gives timely results to fans and offer information to NFL teams records upwards of almost 200,000 global visitors every month. This means that the NFL’s dream of internationalizing this sport is coming to pass, and sooner or later, this fantastic game might gain a top spot in the list of the world’s most popular sports.

Apart from America and Canada, other countries that record a high-level of international football include Austria, Germany, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Australia, and China. The United Kingdom cannot be left behind, with the NFL office in London stating that there are over 13 million fans, and over 50, 000 active players in this region.

Final Thoughts

In spite of a few challenges, the International Football Movement is growing. There are lots of big guys across the globe who want to try this sport, and they are tested for personality & IQ every other day. Therefore, if you are interested in the game, learn the rules, be safe, and swing into action!

American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!