The NFL has announced a new initiative allowing 18 teams to reach international markets in what the league is calling a “ground-breaking” program. The Pittsburgh Steelers are among those 18 teams, and have been granted access to the Mexico market.
A press release issued by the NFL outlines what the program entails allowing teams the chance “for marketing, fan engagement and commercialization as part of an important, longterm, strategic effort to enable clubs to build their global brands while driving NFL fan growth internationally.”
A total of 26 teams were granted access to different markers throughout the world. Pittsburgh is one of nine teams for Mexico, joining the Cardinals, Cowboys, Broncos, Texans, Chiefs, Raiders, Rams, and 49ers.
It’s no surprise to see the Steelers connected to Mexico. They’re one of the country’s most popular teams with a long-time, diehard following since the 70s dynasty. Steelers’ Nation is one of the most international fanbases with huge crowds in places like Mexico and Brazil. There’s even a Steelers bar in Rome.
The Steelers played a 2000 preseason game in Mexico City, drawing over 87,000 fans to watch them play the Indianapolis Colts. This ABC report of the game estimated roughly 90% of the crowd supported the black and gold. The team was reportedly close to playing another game in 2016, but the agreement fell through due to a Heinz Field clause that says the team must play at least eight games there per season. But Art Rooney expressed support for the idea of playing a road game there, saying “we have a lot of great fans in Mexico and would love to get back down there to show them Steelers football in first person.”
Rooney offered a statement following yesterday’s news.
“We look forward to having more direct contact with our fans in Mexico, which will include more focus on events, social engagement, and a potential regular-season game,” he said via Steelers.com, reiterating a desire to play in Mexico.
According to the press release, the Steelers and rest of the league begin their marketing January 1st, 2022. Interestingly, the other three AFC North teams were not chosen for an international market. Ranging from Mexico to Canada to Spain, here’s the full map of what teams were given access, and to which countries.