When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Are You Ready For Some “Fútbol Americano”? NFL Builds Fan Base In Mexico

It’s no secret that Mexicans are crazy about fútbol, aka, soccer. But there’s also growing interest in the kind of football played north of the border, where local teams have loyal supporters, and fans who make pilgrimages to Dallas and San Diego for NFL

A player of the Monterrey Technological Institute during a match against the Pumas CU UNAM (devilpato1)
A player of the Monterrey Technological Institute during a match against the Pumas CU UNAM (devilpato1)

Anyone stupid enough to make an unexpected move toward President Felipe Calderón can expect to experience something most of us have only seen on television: a crushing, bone-rattling, American football-style body blow.

This isn't a metaphor. The Mexican president's security team really does know how to tackle. Why? Because the security guards – as strange as it may sound in soccer-crazy Mexico – have formed their own American football team: the "Sentinels," which play in the country's National Student Organization Of American Football (ONEFA).

Football, as in the American "pigskin" variety, is actually pretty big south of the border. Top ONEFA teams like the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), arch-rival Politécnico Nacional and the upstart Monterrey Technological Institute all have large local followings. So too do the professional National Football League (NFL) teams from "up north." Favorite clubs include the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers. During football season, thousands of Mexican fans trek across the border just to attend Chargers and Cowboys games. There are even a handful of Mexicans who play in the NFL.

It's no wonder, then, that in 2005, the NFL chose Mexico City for the first regular season match ever to be played outside of the United States. The game, between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers, drew 103,467 spectators – an all-time record, US stadiums included, that still stands.

"In terms of the volume of business, the strongest market for the NFL is still the domestic one. But in order to grow, the league needs to expand its fan base," says Arturo Olivé, the NFL's general director of operations in Mexico.

That means doing everything possible to encourage Mexico's already growing interest in the sport. Olivé"s goal over the next three years is also to attract more local sponsors. But even though the NFL has operated an office in Mexico City since 1998, the sport isn't likely – at least in the foreseeable future – to supplant the other kind of "futbol" as the country's favorite pastime.

The NFL must compete too with another favorite sport involving brawny men in shiny outfits: Mexican "lucha libre" wrestling.

Read more from AméricaEconomía in Spanish

Photo - devilpato1

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Photograph of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol saluting troopsas part of the country’s first military parade in a decade, which showcased an arsenal of advanced weaponry in the streets of Seoul.​

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol saluting troops as part of the country’s first military parade in a decade.

Michelle Courtois, Valeria Berghinz and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Goedemorgen!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where an explosion at a fuel depot in Nagorno-Karabakh kills 20, South Korea flexed its military hardware, and Taylor Swift’s NFL rumored beau goes viral. Meanwhile, in independent Latin American journal Volcánicas, Sher Herrera considers the roots and ramifications of the “white savior syndrome” and how it lives on in modern times.


Keep reading...Show less

The latest