NFL expands commitment to playing international games


NFL clubs today approved at a virtual league meeting an enhanced season structure that beginning in 2021 will feature each team playing 17 regular-season games and three preseason games for the first time, helping bring more NFL action to fans worldwide.

The enhanced season will ensure that beginning in 2022, all 32 clubs will play internationally at least once every eight years. The scheduling of up to four neutral site games per year in a country outside the United States will focus initially on Canada, Europe, Mexico, South America and the United Kingdom. This means betting on NFL will be available to punters for games played outside of the United States as well.

In addition, interested clubs can continue to volunteer to play home games internationally, as is currently the case.

“This is a monumental moment in NFL history,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “The CBA with the players and the recently completed media agreements provide the foundation for us to enhance the quality of the NFL experience for our fans. And one of the benefits of each team playing 17 regular-season games is the ability for us to continue to grow our game around the world.”

Today’s decision permits the league to select up to four clubs from the conference that would otherwise host nine regular-season home games (e.g. NFC in 2022) to be designated clubs to play internationally.

This marks another significant step in the NFL’s efforts to increase fandom abroad by playing international games. The NFL played its first regular season game outside of the US in 2005 when the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers played in Mexico City.  The league then headed east, playing 28 games in London since 2007 and reaffirmed its commitment via 10-year partnership with Tottenham Hotspur, which included an NFL field as part of its newly constructed stadium.

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major