Most years, the NFL looks to bring its games and atmosphere to foreign soil, attempting to spread the most distinctly American of all sports. Recent years have seen the NFL play several games across London and even take trips to Mexico City.
Forever looking for new markets to bring in and cultivate into large paying audiences, the NFL’s next step could take the form of a journey west. The International Series games to the east, in England, and to the south, in Mexico, have been incredibly successful, cultivating intrigued fan bases of sports fans. Now, New Zealand might just present the NFL’s next opportunity for international growth.
Growing intrigue in more sports
As a sporting nation, New Zealand has always been famed for its rugby prowess. The ‘All Blacks’ are regularly cited as the most menacing national team across all sports to face, both due to their immaculate play and the Haka. In recent years, however, other sports have risen to the fore. Soccer has seen the most notable rise, becoming the most participated sport in the country and its video game soaring up the charts.
Football has also seen an increase in interest in this regard. While it doesn’t tend to cut the national surveys for participation, the official video game Madden does very well. In fact, earlier this year, the release of Madden NFL 21 saw it land second in the sales charts.
It’s yet to win over the masses quite as soccer has, however. FIFA would release later and dominate the chart for weeks. The sport is also known as “football” does have a more established base through other platforms, too. At the best online casino, Kiwis can find Football: Champions Cup and Ultimate Dream Team – both of which regularly ranks among the most popular slots on the site. Soccer gets a lot of attention when it comes to the entertainment and gaming industry.
Without the NFL having had many New Zealanders suit-up in the past, and there being little promotion for the league in the country, it’s understandable that the global sport of soccer would have a larger print. However, the interest accrued through very little targeted promotion in the country should be a good sign for the NFL’s potential prospects of growing in New Zealand.
Super Bowl viewership up among Kiwis
Via sports broadcaster ESPN, the NFL has been available to watch in New Zealand for some time, with several live games shown each game week. The only aspect that has been missed from the coverage is the incredibly popular NFL RedZone, which acts as a live highlights program. However, what has been shown has been enough to increase the size of the fan base substantially over the last couple of years.
In 2019, a little over 25,000 people in New Zealand tuned in to watch the Super Bowl. Last year, though, with the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the San Francisco 49ers in the concluding game of the NFL season, viewership shot up to over 70,000 people. The peak viewership hit 70,554 on the night, with thousands replaying the event later. It was shown across homes and in several pubs across the nation.
New Zealand is notably growing as a fan base for several sports, most notably, football and soccer. Both are seeing surges across the board, from viewership to engagement through other associated mediums, such as games and social media. As such, New Zealand may soon prove to be a good location for an International Series game.