Super Bowl has ways to go in captivating global audience

Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:11am EST
 
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By Andrew Both

(Reuters) - More than 100 million Americans are expected to watch this year's Super Bowl, but there are about 7 billion people in the rest of the world who may not be so captivated.

The NFL has a loyal following in countries including Britain, Australia, Canada and Mexico but may be struggling to gain a foothold in the prized China market, where most people do not have the "foggiest idea" of the sport.

Germany attracted large crowds during the now-defunct NFL Europe while Brazil has the infrastructure from the soccer World Cup to potentially host NFL games.

The National Football League has held games in London's Wembley Stadium since 2007 -- all three this season sold out -- and is open to the idea of establishing a franchise there.

"We're encouraged by the work we've done in London, the belief we can build long term fandom for the game way beyond a one-off experience," Mark Waller, the NFL's executive vice president of international, told Reuters.

"We believe now we can take a look at the obvious next market. We have a good fan base in Germany ... so it's a logical next focal point for us within the European market."

Bill Peterson, a former president of NFL Europe, confirms that Germany has many American football fans.

"The Frankfurt Galaxy (NFL Europe team) always had tremendous success," said Peterson. "At that time there were 2,000 American football clubs in Europe playing the game from juniors through to adults."   Continued...

 
Jan 23, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; General view of mannequins with the uniform and helmets of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) and quarterback Russell Wilson (3) and New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) and cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) at the Nike Factory Store at the Tanger Outlets in advance of Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports