The NFL reaches out to Yucatán for partnership

American football has been growing in popularity in Yucatán, especially among the younger generations. Pictured, US ambassador Kenneth Lee Salazar. Photo: Courtesy

NFL Mexico Director Olivé Hawley met with Yucatán Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal in Mexico City to discuss potential partnerships to bring more “American football” to the state.

Some ideas involved strategies to help grow amateur teams in Yucatán as well as marketing opportunities for the league. 

Also in attendance were US Ambassador Kenneth Lee Salazar and Denver, Colorado, Mayor Michael Hancock. 

Yucatán Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal and US Ambassador Kenneth Lee Salazar during a bilateral meeting held in Mérida in November 2021. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

The effort is part of an NFL program designed to reach out to new markets to help grow the sport, as well as take an active role in local environmental and social programs.

“Yucatán has earned a reputation for safety and opportunity. We hope to have the opportunity to work with this great state and develop several exciting programs,” said Hawley. 

Teams involved in this effort include the Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the San Francisco 49ers.

Earlier: US ambassador joins governors of Mexico’s southeast for a bilateral summit in Mérida

Though not as popular as in the United States, viewership of NFL games in Mexico has been increasing steadily over the past decade.

The 2021 Super Bowl is reported to have been watched by nearly 10.5 million viewers in Mexico, or roughly 8% of the country’s population, according to the Statista Research Department.

The first NFL exhibition game held in Mexico was back in 1994 and was played between the Oilers and the Cowboys. 

In 2005, the NFL has also begun playing regular-season games in Mexico, with tickets selling out almost immediately. 

The most recent of these games was in 2019 between the Chiefs and the Chargers. The fall 2020 game was canceled.

Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy, and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.
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