How has the popularity of the NFL grown in Latin America?

Equipment costs, numerous rules, and constant arrests have always undermined the popularity of the NFL in Latin America, but that seems to be changing thanks to the development of players in the region and growing television marketing.


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LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano

In South America and much of Central America, traditional football predominates, which Americans call soccer. In contrast, American football is unpopular. However, the Hispanic and Latino population in the United States is slowly changing that reality.

Spanish language: a link

The National Football League has expanded and is now the most popular and lucrative professional sports organization in the United States, outperforming its major competitors in terms of revenue generation, spectators, attendance, and participants.

Mexico is a key place in the Hispanic community. The NFL estimates that it has some 22 million fans in the Aztec nation and that its capital, Mexico City, today has the seventh-largest fan base of any city in North America.

In turn, an exhaustive research work carried out by Jasey Joohi Kim ensures that an important aspect of the subject is the use of Spanish. Since 2009, the language has been used in the technical language and keywords of this sport, which has generated that it has established itself a little more in the Spanish-speaking community.

Joohi Kim’s findings showed that MLS and MLB were the leagues that most included the use of Spanish, which contributed to the growth of Hispanic markets.

Television and the internet as a spearhead

Traditionally, the only impact of American football in the Latino community was achieved in February with the championship final dispute, better known as the Super Bowl, an annual sporting and musical event that brings together more spectators on the planet and that in figures It is comparable in the audience with a World Cup.

El reaches the Super Bowl was strictly linked to the transmission of the same to different regions of Latin America through television, in most cases without the need to transmit the incidents of the season.

The increases in streaming platforms enabled all Latin American countries to agree to the championship through the official website of the NFL. In 2016, the Fox and ESPN sports channels extended their contracts to broadcast this sport based on the growing interest of viewers in acquiring new content.

Globalization and popularization ended with the reinforcement of social networks, as many specialized journalists and Hispanic influencers have dedicated time and space to content about the NFL in Spanish. In that sense, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama are the foreign countries that lead the content in Spanish on the first American sport.

Mexico as a boost

Since 2016, Mexico has had its own national American Football league, called the Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional de México (LFA), which by definition is a private project that supports various public institutions. The first season was made up of four teams, all from the Federal District. Today, in 2022, this league has been expanded and has nine teams that are divided into two conferences: the North and the Center.

Over time, the LFA has gained more adherents, as has the Tazón México, which is its version of the Super Bowl. Without going too far, in the most recent edition of the final match there was a record attendance with more than 18 thousand live spectators, who witnessed how the Condors Legion was crowned champion.

It is a consolidated sport in the Central American country and according to AS Mexico there are three very popular NFL teams in its territory, and they are Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboy, and New England Patriots. As if that were not enough, on October 2, 2018, more than 103 thousand spectators filled the Azteca stadium in Mexico, to see the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49’s in the first regular-season meeting held outside the United States.

The Mexican market has also been key to promoting the arrival of Latin players to the league such as the Argentines Bill Gramática and Martín Gramática, the Chilean Sammys Reyes, the Colombians Fernando Velasco, and Jaime Peñaranda, the Mexicans Raul Allegre and Efrén Herrera or the Paraguayan Benny Richard, among many others.

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