(Reuters) – Mexico City will host the first Monday Night Football game outside the United States when the Houston Texans play the Oakland Raiders in November, the National Football League said on Friday.
Building on the success of its international series of regular-season games in London, the NFL will return to Mexico for the first time since 2005 for the game on Nov. 21 at the Azteca Stadium during the 2016 regular season.
“Expanding our International Series of regular-season games to Mexico marks an important step in our continued international growth,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“We have a tremendous, passionate fan base in Mexico and we know the atmosphere on game day will be outstanding.”
The NFL said its decision to return to Mexico was based on several factors, including general fan interest, the size and value of the overall sports and entertainment market there and the potential for year-round sponsorship and fan engagement.
There will nw be four NFL games outside the United States in this season as Jacksonville, Los Angeles and Cincinnati will be “home” teams for previously announced games in London that will be played at Wembley Stadium and Twickenham.
NFL owners had voted last October to extend the league’s commitment to play international regular-season games through 2025, including the option to play outside the United Kingdom beginning with the 2016 season.
When Houston and Oakland clash in Mexico’s capital the Raiders will serve as the “home” team.
The NFL played its first international regular-season game in 2005 when a crowd of 103,467 saw the Arizona Cardinals beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-14 in Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Ken Ferris)