NFL grants Saints exclusive international marketing rights in France
This is a really cool opportunity for the New Orleans Saints. On Tuesday, the NFL announced that the Saints requested — and had been awarded — exclusive international marketing rights in France, making New Orleans the first NFL team to venture into the country on this scale.
Saints owner Gayle Benson said in a statement released through the league:
“We are excited for our club to be awarded France as part of the NFL Global Markets Program. New Orleans and France have enjoyed a unique cultural connection for centuries and we are excited about working with the NFL and our partners in France to grow the game of American football. In addition to having the opportunity to market our team in France, we are looking forward to promoting our city and state and driving investment in local and regional businesses.”
So are the Saints going to play a game in France? Probably, but not in 2023, and maybe not even in 2024. This movement is geared more towards laying the groundwork for a sustained international fanbase through community outreach and promotions developing interest in the team. And it makes a lot of sense for New Orleans to get the nod here given their historical ties to France. We should expect a Saints game in France someday, but not in the immediate future. That’s going to be welcome news for the French Saints fans already excited following their team.
What about a possible venue? We’re putting the cart before the horse here, but there are many sizeable stadiums the NFL could eventually consider. The largest is the Stade de France in Paris’ Saint-Denis suburbs (capacity of over 81,000), but they could also look to the Stade Velodrome in Marseille (67,000) and the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon (59,000) or a more-intimate venue in the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille (50,000). Those are all comparable to the arenas in Britain and Germany that the NFL has targeted in recent years.
The NFL is making a strong push to establish support in multiple European countries. Though the Saints have exclusive marketing rights in France, there are other franchises actively cultivating neighboring nations like Spain (Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears), Germany (Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers), and the United Kingdom (Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Bears, Dolphins, and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Northern Ireland). Teams are also busy building support in Switzerland, Austria, and many other countries around the globe.
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