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Mexico City and the NFL

Mexico City is the seventh city in the world with the largest estimated NFL fan base
Football Helmets - Photo: Ricardo Aldayturriaga/XINHUA
EL UNIVERSAL in English/Alejandra Mendoza
Mexico City
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The first time the NFL played a game in Mexico was in 2005 – when the Arizona Cardinals beat the San Francisco 49ers – and it took the National Football League a little over a decade to bring back American Football to our country (yes, the “American” bit is necessary this side of the border to distinguish it from that other famous sport Mexicans love – football – that you'll know as "soccer" if you happen to be an American.)

Regardless of what we call it, American football has certainly found a steady fanbase in Mexico.

According to an article by The Washington Post published in 2014, Mexico City is estimated to be the seventh city in the world with the largest NFL fan base, “despite only seven percent of its population is estimated to be NFL fans” – and that was three years ago, the numbers have surely gone up since then. 

But why has the NFL decided to hit the road?

“When you're the Number One sport in the U.S., there's only so much you can grow within the country, so you move out,” said Elizabeth Lindsay, a marketing expert at Wasserman last year.

Starting in 2007, the National Football League began to host regular season football games outside the United States but these officially became the NFL International Series in 2016 and, currently, there are only two sub-series: the NFL London Games and the NFL Mexico Games.

Today, Mexican fans of the American football will journey once more to the Azteca Stadium to bear witness of the Patriots vs Raiders game, and in anticipation of the event, the main avenue in Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma, is hosting for the second time the Ball Parade NFL 2017, an exhibition prepared by the artists collective Locos por el Arte.

This time, they bring 32 helmets, 4 footballs, and 6 Mr. Potato Heads.

Photos by Alonso Romero/EL UNIVERSAL

And with the announcement that the NFL has signed a contract to play regular-season games in Mexico for three more years (2019, 2020, and 2021), Mexican fans of American football certainly have something to rejoice about.




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