Following ratification by the International Committee today, the NFL announced that 18 teams have been granted access to 26 International Home Marketing Areas (IHMA) across eight different countries. This ground-breaking, new initiative grants clubs access to international territories for marketing, fan engagement and commercialization as part of an important, long-term, strategic effort to enable clubs to build their global brands while driving NFL fan growth internationally.
Rights in the United Kingdom have been awarded to the Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers.
“NFL fandom begins with our clubs,” said Christopher Halpin, NFL Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy & Growth Officer. “This important initiative enables NFL teams to develop meaningful, direct relationships with NFL fans abroad, driving fan growth and avidity globally. We were very pleased with the number, creativity and level of commitment of club proposals across the board in this initial application period and look forward to teams launching their efforts early next year.”
As part of the International HMA program, clubs will have access to international markets for at least a five-year term, during which a club will have rights to pursue activities in that international market that are consistent with what they can do in their domestic HMA. This includes in-person and digital marketing, corporate sponsorship sales, fan events and activations, youth football activities, merchandise sales and co-marketing relationships with other sports and entertainment properties in the market.
Clubs can begin to activate in their awarded markets on January 1, 2022.
“Since we first made the commitment in 2012 to play an annual home game in London, the Jaguars have experienced first-hand the overwhelming enthusiasm for American football in the United Kingdom,” said Shad Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars. “Beyond the packed stadiums, more than 85,000 school children are playing JagTag, our simplified version of American football. That’s real evidence of growth in the UK, and it will be only strengthened by the IHMA program that will focus on further developing the fanbase we helped to forge by playing games and having a year-round presence in London. Let me be the first to welcome the new NFL teams to the UK!”
“Being awarded the United Kingdom International Home Marketing Area by the league is an honour,” said Chicago Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey, a member of the NFL’s International Committee. “The Chicago Bears have a long history in the UK and one of the largest NFL fanbases there. We’re excited to continue building on that passion and further grow the game of football abroad.”
Tom Garfinkel, Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium, said: “We are excited that the NFL has created this global initiative to allow teams to connect with their worldwide fanbases. The Miami Dolphins have an international brand with a passionate following in the UK. While our priority remains to service our fans in South Florida, we are committed to investing in and growing our presence internationally in the coming years with our UK fan clubs and partners through innovation, technology and local community impact.”
“This is an excellent opportunity to directly engage with Vikings fans across the world, as well as grow our fan base and cultivate interest in the game of football,” said Minnesota Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf. “We have seen the strength of our international Vikings fans during the team’s previous games in London and with the launch of our UK Vikings social media channels in 2018, so this is another step toward deepening those relationships. We look forward to solidifying the activation elements and getting back to the UK in 2022 and future years.”
“International marketing clearly represents an enormous growth opportunity for both the NFL and the Jets,’ said Hymie Elhai, President of the New York Jets. “We are excited to showcase our players and coaches and their personalities in the United Kingdom. Through grassroots programs, unique in-market activations and strategic partnerships we are excited to build upon our fanbase in the UK and look forward to establishing longstanding relationships.”
San Francisco 49ers President Al Guido said: “As long-time members of the NFL’s international committee, the 49ers know there’s never been a better time to invest in the UK and we thank the NFL for granting us these rights. The first-hand perspective we’ve gained from twice playing in London and our ongoing investment in Leeds United provides our organization with a genuine appreciation for the UK. We look forward to employing unique strategies and compelling content to attract new fans and partners throughout the UK.”
Coupled with the League’s commitment to International Games – all 32 clubs will play at least one international game in the next eight seasons – the League will use its best efforts to ensure clubs play their international games in their International HMAs, where possible.
“Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in our efforts to broaden the NFL’s global reach by building long-term relationships with these international markets that will play a large role in the continued growth and expansion of our sport for years to come,” said Tampa Bay Buccaneers Owner/Co-Chairman and NFL International Committee Chairman Joel Glazer. “Much of our league success is rooted in the strong connection that our individual teams have built with their fans, and this initiative creates many more avenues for engaging and energizing our international fanbase.”
Following the launch of this initiative, clubs may submit future proposals for International Committee review annually each spring.
Clubs granted International Home Marketing Areas, by market: