It would be an understatement to say that the NFL is popular, not just in the United States, but in many other countries as well. The owners lucky enough to land a team essentially print money and plenty of other billionaires would like to get in on the practice.
Commissioner Roger Goodell often talks about expanding the league. And that expansion wouldn’t only consider American cities, but International cities as well. Below are a number of places that could be good fits for the NFL when the league inevitably decides to expand.
San Diego, California
From the day the Chargers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles, it was clear that the NFL made a mistake. Rather than playing in front of a small but spirited fan base, the Chargers now play to a mostly empty stadium.
The fans in San Diego deserved better. While not as sports-crazed as other cities that don’t have weather perfection to offer, they could certainly make it well worth the NFL’s while to send an expansion team their way.
The NFL higher-ups will happily tell you that they have a global sport. And to present evidence of this, they will point to London, England. The league has been playing a game in the city for years now.
The crowds at these games feature fans with all different kinds of jerseys on. The travel schedule would need to be massaged but is also doable. It is likely that there will be a team in London in the next few years.
Let’s face it, the state of Alabama is football mad. Auburn, Alabama features the Tigers. The Crimson Tide call Tuscaloosa, Alabama home and the Senior Bowl takes place in the city of Mobile each year.
And while the big games in the state are played on Saturdays, that doesn’t mean the citizens of Bama couldn’t also turn it up on Sundays. And if you wanted to do it as a gimmick, you could probably cobble together a competitive roster just from players from Auburn and the University of Alabama.
Canada, which already has a very successful Canadian Football League, is ripe for NFL expansion. No city may be better than Toronto which almost had a football team already but failed to land the Buffalo Bills in 2014.
The city is sports-mad. The Maple Leafs are legendary, the Blue Jays are beloved and the Raptors are coming off the country’s first NBA Championship. It is a good bet that Toronto would be the first choice for a Canadian NFL team.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
When the New Orleans Hornets had to leave their city in the early 2000’s due to Hurricane Katrina, Oklahoma City got a dry run at having a professional sports franchise. The city turned out the be an amazing fit and the NBA awarded it the Thunder.
It might be time for Oklahoma City to add a new professional sports franchise. The entire state is already football crazy thanks to the Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys. An NFL franchise would be a seamless fit.
Sure there’s football in San Francisco, California and there’s football in Seattle, Washington too. But what about all the football fans in between those two cities. Having an NFL franchise in Eugene, Oregon would be a great way to satisfy fans in Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho.
All three of those states have very popular college football teams, with the Oregon Ducks being a traditional powerhouse, with a large fan base. The Pacific Northwest, with is gobs of transplants, is ripe for another team.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Despite a large city population, Salt Lake City is only home to one professional sports team. That team, though, the Utah Jazz, has not only been quite successful, it’s also been wholeheartedly supported by its fan base since day one.
Utah fans also love their football. The BYU Cougars have been a very good team for a very long time. The Utah Utes have sent players like Alex Smith, Jordan Gross and Star Lotuleilei to the NFL. The city is ready to support another team.
Mexico City, Mexico
When one thinks about Mexico, they often consider the other football, as in soccer. But thanks to its close proximity to the United States, there are a ton of American football fans in Mexico City.
And there are plenty of people living in the city to support a new team as the population is close to 9 million. The recent NFL games played in Mexico City have been well received and there is already a stadium in the Estadio Azteca which holds 88,000.
Virginia is a rapidly growing state. While the Washington Redskins play nearby, the state could use another team considering it is one of the larger states in the US.
The state has a ton of fans who root for the Redskins, the Washington Nationals, and the Capitals. But those teams are too far away for many fans to travel to. The city of Norfolk has long been a successful minor league baseball town and the area has a large population.
Like the city of London, Dublin has a fair share of NFL football fans. Followers of the popular website Pro Football Focus know that a number of the site’s writers hail from Ireland.
There has also been talk of the NFL playing a game in the city. The league’s Pittsburgh Steelers have been instrumental in trying to have a game played in the city thanks to former owner Dan Rooney. It could be a greats spot if the league attempts to expand into Europe.
The state of Nebraska has an incredibly rich football tradition. Offensive lineman who hail from the Cornhusker State have always been considered to be some of the finest. The city of Omaha is rather large, easily the size of a Buffalo or a Green Bay.
And Nebraska has also shown that they can be very supportive of a football team. The stadium where the University of Nebraska plays in Lincoln holds close to 76,000 fans.
Germany, like England and Ireland, also has plenty of American football fans. The NFL has named Germany the country as a potential site for its next outside of the US game. And one town in particular has a football tradition.
In the 1990’s the NFL Europe lead had a team in the city of Frankfurt called the Galaxy. The Galaxy were an especially successful team and won 4 championships. Players who competed for the team describe the atmosphere as electric.
When people think of the biggest cities in the state of Ohio, they may think of Cleveland or Cincinnati. Those cities, of course, already have the state’s pro teams. But the city of Columbus, which only has the Blue Jackets, has a population as big as Cleveland and Cincinnati combined.
And Columbus, where the Ohio State Buckeyes play, is an incredibly passionate football town. The Buckeyes play to 103,000 fans in Ohio Stadium each week, so an NFL team can thrive here as well.
Like the city of Frankfurt, the city of Barcelona in Spain had one of NFL Europe’s inaugural teams. The Dragons were a successful club which played in multiple World Bowls and won the title in 1997.
Having already shown an interest in the sport of American football, the city of Barcelona boasts a population of over 1.5 million people. The venue for the sport is already there as the city built a number of new sporting venues for the 1992 Olympics.
The majority of non-NHL professional sports teams have either played in Toronto or Montreal. That does not mean, though, that other Canadian cities couldn’t support a professional team. Edmonton has long been home to hockey’s Oilers.
The city is also home to the Canadian Football League’s Eskimos. The Eskimos have consistently been one of the best teams in the CFL and have won a total of 15 Grey Cups. The team has a rabid fan base that might also take in interest in American football.
Oakland has had its heart ripped out twice now when it comes to losing football teams. And both times have been completely unfair. The city has some of the sport’s best fans and has time and time again proven that it could support a team.
The NFL really dropped the ball allowing the Raiders to leave the city for Las Vegas. The Bay Area of California is large enough for two teams and the league should right a wrong by putting a squad back in Oakland.
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is one of the great sports cities in America. The Blues recently brought joy to the town by winning the 2019 Stanley Cup. And fans of the St. Louis Cardinals are widely considered to be among sports’ best.
The city also had its taste of NFL football when the Rams moved there from Los Angeles. And those were especially good times as the team, led by Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk were dominant. St. Louis is definitely ready for another team.
San Antonio, Texas
When a lot of fans think about San Antonio, Texas, they think of the city as being in a small market. San Antonio, of course, only has the NBA’s Spurs which the town supports to an incredible degree.
In reality, San Antonio represents the 8th largest market in the United States. The city would also be able to draw fans from Austin which is only around 75 miles away. Texas already has two football teams but could likely support one more.
Orlando, Florida not only boasts a population of 2.6 million people, but there are also millions of tourists that descend on the city each year. While plenty of those people are there for theme parks, they are interested in other activities as well.
The state of Florida is football mad. Not only are there 3 NFL teams, but there are also huge college programs like Florida, Florida State, and Miami. Few cities are set up as well for NFL expansion success as Orlando.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Most states that are as large as New Mexico have not just one, but multiple professional sports franchises. And as one of the fastest-growing states in the US, New Mexico is an intriguing target for expansion.
The state’s residents have already shown that they’re rabid for sports with their support for the University of New Mexico Lobos. The city of Albuquerque has also hosted a major NCAA bowl game each season since the year 2006.