There have been many rumors regarding NFL expansion or relocation to new destinations, and with Madden NFL 25’s feature regarding relocating a franchise, the topic has reached the forefront of interest in hardcore circles of sports fans.
Of the 17 locations listed as possible to pretend relocate your football team of choice, there are four cities outside of the USA that a user can choose: London, Toronto, Dublin and Mexico City.
The idea of moving a team to any of these cities is intriguing. I know from during the week I spent in London that they try to air NFL games whenever possible during the season, so there is obvious interest in the UK when it comes to American football. However, to make this a reality is highly unrealistic.
First of all, getting a football player to uproot his family and move to a place where six-to-eight hours of flying is the standard travel time to go to an away game is impractical. And that time is only the estimate from New York to London. Sure, some players might like the idea and would be on board for it, but that will likely only be a very small percentage of them. The league already has issues with teams from the west coast traveling to the east coast a couple times a year, and players would dread going over twice the distance for one football game.
Another problem has to do with all the money people in the UK pour into attending and watching soccer. Because of soccer’s popularity, it would be difficult to garner enough interest for an American football team.
Another obstacle the NFL would have to overcome is finding a way to broadcast games from around the league, all while working around the issue of time zones, which in itself is just too big of a hurdle to overcome.
A very practical idea, however, that has surprisingly not drawn the interest of an NFL owner is moving a team outside the country while staying on the continent. I love the idea of Canada or Mexico having a team. Toronto is the clear-cut destination north of the border. With the Bills already playing a game there yearly, a team would likely draw a lot of interest. Mexico City is another plausible destination, and would likely spend a lot of money on the team. Since Mexico City is so large, there would surely be enough people to fill a stadium on a weekly basis.
I understand NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s interest in going international. It is a great way to acquire more money in this cash-influenced world we live in. But unless the crazy situation arises in which you could persuade four to eight billionaires to buy NFL expansion teams at the same time as placing one-of-two divisions in Europe, it’s not going to happen.