Few global sporting organizations have the NFL’s successful infrastructure and forward-thinking business dynamic. If you pit it against other colossal American sports, you could make a strong case that it has been able to appeal to a broader international audience compared to other popular American sports leagues like the NBA or MLB. Much of this success has been down to how NFL bosses envisioned the future and the steps they took to bring in as many new fans as possible while still catering to the old-school, traditional football fan. As the league looks to grow into a vast global market, we’ll take a look at some of the significant changes that could take it to the next level and what the most essential updates could look like as the game moves forward.
Impact Of Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
Bitcoin and blockchain have commanded some serious column space in the media over the last decade. As it continues to generate headlines, innovators who try to identify ways for American football to stay ahead of the competition, tokenization of assets, player NFTs, and even some players requesting to get paid in Bitcoin have been some of the big news stories involving cryptocurrency and the NFL since the beginning of this decade.
Cryptocurrency has emerged as a viable way to place bets, too, with gambling companies reaching out and exploring how blockchain can advance and ease the wagering experience. Some of the biggest sports arenas in the United States have sold their naming rights to blockchain companies. As cryptocurrency sports betting and casino gambling companies start to make significant progress, it appears that a stronger working relationship could develop between the two sectors.
Given that digital assets like Bitcoin are gaining ground in traditional casinos, with more casino gamers intrigued about the mechanics of a Bitcoin casino, this added interest should lead to heightened awareness amongst the wider gambling industry, which includes NFL betting, a significant ancillary betting market within the US. Playing at a cryptocurrency casino is the latest in a long line of new tech sweeping the financial world, so the implementation in the NFL is likely to grow throughout this decade and beyond.
Increase in Overseas Games
It’s hard to believe that the first international season game occurred nearly 20 years ago when the Cardinals took on the 49ers in Mexico City. By identifying international demand in previously dormant markets, the NFL has now taken dozens of games overseas. It now has several fixtures throughout the season taking place in Europe.
Bridging this gap and making the game available for overseas fans has helped to cultivate an international attraction. Other interactive games have brought more fans on board too, with fantasy football transcending international borders and bringing in thousands of new faces from all over the world. While there will be a balance, and NFL franchises won’t be keen on making 20-hour round flights every week, there’s no doubt that NFL international games are allowing the brand to grow considerably abroad.
Don’t be surprised to see a cluster of games occur overseas or, perhaps one day, a Super Bowl outside of American soil, with fresh potential locations like Madrid and Rio De Janeiro thrown into the hat as new possible locations for new NFL international games.
The Emergence Of A New Franchise
Some have toyed with the idea that a new team outside the USA could soon become part of the NFL. The NHL already welcomes teams from Canada, and if you look at European sports leagues, there have been teams from Wales that have played in the top flight of the English Premier League. The logistics of having another North American team, whether they’re based in Canada or Mexico, shouldn’t be too complex to manage, but where league bosses decide to draw the line could extend if there’s a viable market for a non-US team to join the ranks of the big leagues.
The Houston Texans celebrated 20 years in the NFL last year, and as the last expansion team entered the league, there have been further calls for another franchise to enter the race. Toronto, San Antonio, and even overseas cities that have hosted NFL games, including London and Mexico City, have all been touted as potential expansion teams.
Although the idea of having a franchise based thousands of miles outside the US is probably a bridge too far, the distance from New York to Rio is only a couple of hours extra on a plane than it is from Los Angeles to New York. Toronto is much closer to many franchises on the East Coast than the West Coast. Hence, these ideas aren’t unfeasible, especially with how global the league is becoming, as well as several exciting, engaging, and dynamic future changes potentially on the horizon.