From the possibility of more games around the world to expanding
the number of playoff teams and adding franchises, to courting more
women and Hispanic fans, a relaxed Goodell laid out his blueprint
for NFL's expansion during his annual pre-Super Bowl state of the
The Denver Broncos will take on the Seattle Seahawks in the first
cold weather Super Bowl on Sunday at MetLife Stadium and Goodell
joked that even the NFL could not control the weather as fluffy fake
snow fell on the stage.
But if nothing else, Mother Nature appears to be a Super Bowl fan
with fears of a winter blizzard disrupting the NFL's showcase giving
way to a promising forecast of chilly but clear conditions.
"We are doing something innovative and unprecedented," said Goodell.
"Something consistent with the essence of football and the Super
"This is the number one market and a great stage for this Super Bowl
matchup, and the world will be watching."
The world is watching with increasing interest.
Next year the NFL will play three regular season games in London and
according to NFL figures, Sunday's Super Bowl broadcast will be
available in 198 countries and territories in 25 languages.
Mexico is eager to have the NFL back and Goddell did not rule out
the possibility of going to South America for a game in Brazil at
one of the new stadiums being built for the soccer World Cup and
"We have not heard directly from any officials in that area," said
Goodell when asked about talk of taking the NFL to Brazil. "We're
always interested in expanding our game.
"We see the opportunity for us to continue to expand our game, come
into new markets, and we find that valuable to the league."
While Goodell downplayed talk of London getting an expansion
franchise, the commissioner made it clear that developing the
British market was the focus of it global strategy. All three games
scheduled for London next season are already sold out.
"Our focus, as you know, has been in the United Kingdom," said
Goodell. "I'm happy to report that all three games are sold out.
"We're seeing that kind of passion and that kind of excitement about
NFL football on a global basis.
"Our games, when we play them, just as in the United Kingdom, are
done with a strategy.
"They're done with media coverage, with licensing partners and
trying to build the fan base from the ground up."
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Growing the fan base at home is also part of the plan.
Recent studies have found that women represent approximately 45
percent of the NFL fan base and is a market the league believes it
can continue to develop.
To cater to its growing Hispanic base, the Super Bowl this year for
the first time will be broadcast in Spanish in the United States.
"One of our fastest growing audience segments is our Hispanic fans,
both here in the States and throughout the world, and we're proud of
that, and that's intentional," said Goodell
"We're working harder to reach those fans, introduce them to the
"Or, if they already are great fans, we want to give them more of
"Women are really embracing the game. We're not doing anything
special other than inviting them into the game.
"If they feel comfortable being fans, they will. They're great
One sure way to bring in new fans at home and aboard is to up the
excitement and entertainment value of a product and Goodell said
more is on the way with talks progressing about adding two teams to
The playoffs currently involve 12 teams but that number is expected
to rise to 14.
"There has been a great deal of focus over the last year on if we
would make any modifications to our postseason," admitted Goodell.
"There's a lot of benefits to doing that. We think we can make the
league more competitive.
"We think we can make the matchups more competitive towards the end
of the season.
"There will be more excitement, more memorable moments for our
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)
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