On Monday, the NFL made an announcement they’ve likely been discussing for some time, and reluctantly decided to move forward with. For the 2020 season, there will be no league games played overseas.
“After considerable analysis, we believe the decision to play all our games domestically this season is the right one for our players, our clubs, and all our fans in the US, Mexico and UK,” said NFL Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy & Growth Officer Christopher Halpin. “We greatly appreciate the support of our governmental and stadium partners in Mexico and the United Kingdom, who all agree with this decision, and we look forward to returning for games in both countries in the 2021 season.”
This will come as good news to some who don’t necessarily appreciate their favorite teams playing out of the country, costing many a chance to see their players live in action. However, for the league, it’s a blow to their overseas efforts to grow the game and NFL brand to audiences outside of the continental United States.
Since the NFL started playing games outside of our borders on a regular basis, the fan bases in both the UK and Mexico have grown substantially. While this announcement surely won’t curb the momentum built over the years significantly, it’s certainly more bad news for fans of the game in those countries who now know they won’t have the opporunity to see NFL action live in their home country, for the year.
This impact was not lost on Halpin, who also commented, “We also thank our incredible fans in those territories for their passionate support of the NFL. We will continue to serve them through our outstanding media partners and by being active supporters of both grassroots football and COVID-19 relief efforts in Mexico and the UK.”
For the general outlook of the 2020 NFL Season, this move marks one step closer to the possibility of a delayed or even cancelled season, as all involved continue to evaluate and anticipate the impacts COVID-19 will continue to have.