Wembley Stadium NFL 2017

Looking for a Football Vacation? International NFL Games Head to London and Mexico in 2019

If you’re the football-loving type living in the US, the ultimate travel experience could be a trip to another country and watching your favorite NFL team play abroad. 

Think about it. Vacation and football!? Does it really get any better than that?

Of course, diehard football fans already know the NFL has combined football and foreign countries for more than a decade with an annual international series of games. 

For the rest of us, and fans who want to know more, here’s the skinny.

The NFL Goes Global

The modern era of NFL games staged outside the US began prior to the start of the 2017 season. Pro football’s steering body announced a regular season contest between the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins that would take place at Wembley Stadium in London on October 28. 

The Giants toppled the Dolphins 13-10 in what would become the inaugural game of the NFL International Series. 

The series continued each year through 2012 with a single regular season game held at Wembley before being expanded to two games in 2013. 

More than 80,000 excited fans routinely turned up for the NFL’s UK installments. With an across-the-pond hit on their hands, the league upped the ante to three Wembley games in 2014 and 2015 before diversifying to other countries and venues. 

Since 2016, NFL games in London have been played in Twickenham Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in addition to Wembley. 

This year also marks the fourth consecutive season the league has gone south of the border for a game in Mexico City at Estadio Azteca. 

The addition of games in Mexico led the NFL to rebrand the International Series into its constituent parts in 2016: NFL London Games and NFL Mexico Game. 

The NFL is considering hosting expanding the international schedule to Canada or Germany in the future.

The NFL’s International Schedule in 2019

In 2019, four games are scheduled in London along with the now-customary single game in Mexico. 

The first two London games staged at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, are already on the books. The Oakland Raiders bested the Chicago Bears 41-21 on October 6. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the Carolina Panthers on October 13 in an NFC South mash-up. 

The defending NFC champion LA Rams head to Wembley for a bout with the struggling Cincinnati Bengals on October 27.

The final London game on the international docket is an AFC South clash between the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley on November 3. Houston is leading the AFC South as projected by oddsmakers while Jacksonville currently sits third in the division.

The action international action shifts back to North America for the Mexico City game on November 18. Wunderkind Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs take on the LA Chargers in a featured Monday night game. 

NFL football

The Globalization of a Game

International games are part of the NFL’s strategic campaign to market American football as a global sport. 

Worldwide interest is at an all-time high thanks to an increasing amount of foreign-born players pouring into football’s highest rank and online streaming services broadcasting games to every corner of the planet. 

The NFL has toyed with international contests for years in various configurations. 

Between 1950 and 1961, the league held six exhibition games in Canada against Canadian Football League clubs. 

In 1983, British entrepreneur John Marshall staged the Global Cup–a pre-season exhibition game at Wembley between the Minnesota Vikings and the St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals. 

The NFL held annual pre-season games outside the US between 1986 and 2005 in a series dubbed the American Bowl. London and Mexico City were frequent host cities of those games along with Tokyo and Barcelona. 

Now that the NFL has committed to international regular season games, it seems the world is finally embracing American football on a whole new level.

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