Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium To Hold NFL Game In 2025 Season
Days after confirming the NFL will host a game in Brazil next season, the league announced that Real Madrid's newly refurbished stadium will be the venue for a Spanish fixture next year.
- Agence France-Presse
- Updated: February 10, 2024 01:54 PM IST
The NFL will stage its first ever regular season game in Spain during the 2025 season with a fixture at Real Madrid's newly refurbished Santiago Bernabeu Stadium as the league continues its expansion into overseas markets, officials confirmed on Friday. Days after confirming the NFL will host a game in Brazil next season, the league announced that the Bernabeu will be the venue for a Spanish fixture next year.
"Playing a game in Madrid in 2025 highlights the continued expansion of the league's global footprint and the accelerated ambitions to take our game to more fans around the world," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement.
"We are proud to partner with Real Madrid C.F., a global brand, together with the City of Madrid and Comunidad de Madrid, to bring a spectacular regular season game to Spain at the world-class Santiago Bernabeu Stadium," he added.
Fifty regular season NFL games have been played internationally through the league's history, with London, Munich, Frankfurt, Mexico City and Toronto all hosting games to date.
Sao Paulo, Brazil, will stage a game in 2024 at the Corinthians Arena - home to Brazilian football team Corinthians - the first NFL game in South America.
The iconic Bernabeu has undergone a significant redevelopment and now has a retractable roof.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez hailed the move as a win for both his club and the NFL.
"The National Football League's arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu is a major event in sport history. This strategic alliance between Real Madrid and an organization of the NFL's prestige will boost our brands globally. It will be enthusiastically welcomed by millions of people on all continents, and it is an honor to embark on this journey together."
The announcement came ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl in Las Vegas between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
NFL officials said Spain was home to some 13 million NFL fans, noting that "fan passion" in the country had influenced the 2025 decision.
"We're committed to Spain for the long term," NFL International executive vice president Peter O'Reilly said. "There's 13 million NFL fans in Spain so you know there is a pent-up demand and you have the fan base."
O'Reilly said France was among new markets the NFL was looking at for future international games, but said there was "nothing imminent" in terms of taking the sport further afield to Asia and Australia.
The expansion of overseas games follows a decision taken by NFL clubs to increase international fixtures from four to eight games per season from 2025.
O'Reilly said international fixtures -- rather than the long-discussed possibility of basing a team permanently overseas -- was the NFL's preferred route.
"That is something that is certainly not imminent," O'Reilly said of an overseas franchise. "The structure of the league with 32 clubs is working well. Our focus at the moment right now is around what we can learn from the increase of international games each year.
"I'm sure there are interested markets around the world, but our focus on the moment is our expansion of our game inventory, and creating the opportunity of bringing our game to more fans, and not necessarily on team expansion."
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