Fans that live in the United States boast that football is ‘America’s Game’, and it is difficult to argue against the popularity that the league has within North America. Millions tune in every weekend to watch the latest games, which are typically played on Sundays, while hundreds of millions of viewers are captivated by the biggest game of the season, the Super Bowl.
The illustrious event is that popular in the States that a few seconds of an advert during the half-time break are worth millions of dollars. The Super Bowl is still second when it comes to the most-watched annual event on the sporting calendar behind the Champions League final.
The biggest difference between the two is the fact that soccer is a globally recognized sport and fans from around the globe watch the two best club sides in Europe compete. However, could this gap ever be breached should the popularity of the NFL increase outside of the United States?
Growing reach around the world
The popularity of the sport is steadily rising throughout the world outside of North America, with the IFAF revealing that 80 countries now have organized federations relating to American Football. Countries that were included in that list are Germany, China, and South Africa. China is one of the countries that have certainly embraced the sport, with over 5,000 people in the country now playing the sport. While the number may not be great, it is a great deal higher than it was ten years ago.
International players playing in the NFL have also had an impact on the popularity, with German star Moritz Boehringer becoming the first player to be picked in a draft despite playing in a European league when drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. But, there are more reasons why the popularity is steadily increasing.
NFL International Series
There is no denying that taking NFL games on the road around the world has had a huge impact on the popularity of the game outside of North America. The International Series was first in 2007, with games played in London. The first game was a huge success, with 81,176 fans packed in at Wembley to watch the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins.
The success immediately led to an increased number of viewers around Europe, with more games taking place in London since 2013. There have been three games per season taking place in London since 2014, and they continue to be a huge success.
The ability to bet on the NFL action has certainly had a huge impact on the growth of the sport around the world. Countries such as India have been drawn to the NFL as it is a potentially profitable way to bet on sport, with the Dafabet mobile app being one of the leading options available to players. With these leading sportsbooks, gamblers are able to bet on the full-time result, as well as the over/under total points markets throughout the season.