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NFL Looking to expand its horizons...go international


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After 16 years of NFL in Europe, Commisioner Roger Goodell has decided to shut down the developmental league less than a week after the final World Bowl. The reason, however, is contrary to what many would believe. NFL officials have said that the move was made in order to continue to spread NFL popularity, and not because the NFL had lost hope at acheiving an international fanbase. Since its induction in 1991, both game attendance and TV viewer numbers have increased significantly, according to NFL International. This past World Bowl, the nearly 50,000 people who were in attendance was an NFLE record, and the game was also televised live in both Germany and the Netherlands.

So, why take it away? Well, first of all, the NFL was spending nearly $30 million per year on NFLE, and, according to Goodell and other NFL officials, it had served its job to "lay a solid foundation of NFL fans and supporters outside of the United States." Now that the goal has been acheived, and a fan foundation has been laid, the NFL will move a preseason and at least 1 regular season game outside of the United States. NFL officials are confident that, due to the success of NFLE, there will be enough of an interest for people to attend these games and/or watch them on T.V.

Another interesting idea that the NFL is working on is a plan to televise some preseason games in China. While the NFL has laid a foundation and is looking to become more popular in Europe, it is also apparently trying to find a way to crack into Asia as well. Obviously, there are a lot of kinks to be worked out before games are broadcasted in China, an area where most people have never even heard of American Football.

So, I guess the NFL feels more confident that spending on 1-2 reg. season games outside of the US and on figuring out a way to crack into Asia is better then spending on NFLE. Its an ambitous plan for sure, but at the rate the NFL is growing, there's no reason they shouldn't be ambitous.

Sources: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/football/nfl/06/29/nfl.china.ap/index.html


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