What will Italy’s European championship win do for participation in American football in the country?

Italy is a nation renowned for its sporting prowess, particularly as far as soccer goes. Indeed, the Azzurri won the European soccer championships in 2021 by beating England in the final in their own backyard, Wembley Stadium. It was a night that few people in the country will ever forget as parties in Rome, Naples, Turin, and Sardinia carried on long into the evening.

Only a few months later, however, the country was to enjoy further domination in Europe on a chilly autumn night as Italy won the continent’s American football championship on the 31st of October. Once again, Italy defied home-ground advantage by beating Sweden 41 – 14 in the city of Malmo to send the locals into despair. Encouragingly, it was a very good turnout from the Swedes and visiting Italians who had traveled to watch the match which makes you wonder whether there will be an American football revolution that sweeps the continent.

If it does, you imagine that Italy will have to be the driving force behind participation if Europeans are to eventually take American football into their hearts. Indeed, participation in any sport is normally generated by an event that inspires the next generation to begin playing. In essence, you need a moment to take place that stops time for those watching on by capturing their attention for good. That moment could well be Italy’s win against Sweden and the way that they went all the way in Malmo despite not playing a competitive game in over 24 months during the build-up. In many respects, the headlines write themselves given how compelling the narrative is and you can only hope that the subsequent seeds are sown in the minds of those watching on.

Should the number of people playing American football increase in Italy then there’s a real chance that the sport could attract bigger audiences. This will obviously lead to lucrative broadcasting deals that will undoubtedly help establish better training facilities at grassroots level. Another positive sign is that we have already seen an uptake in American football in the UK after London began hosting NFL matches at Wembley and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The most recent game was a showdown between the Dolphins and Jaguars and although both teams are struggling as can be seen here in the latest American football odds, with the Jaguars enduring an especially tough season having been priced at 4000/1 to win the Super Bowl in 2022, the game was a complete sellout. This suggests that regardless of the teams on show, Londoners will watch any game you put in front of them.

Naturally, this all bodes well for the chances of American football being adopted by Europeans and you suspect that interest will continue to grow exponentially as long as the NFL keeps making the trip over the Atlantic. When you combine this with feel-good stories of Italy winning the European championships, you’re then left feeling that everyone is pulling together to make sure that American football eventually becomes one of Europe’s favourite pastimes.

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.