Mexico focused on having NFL return

NFL returning to Mexico

Mexico — NFL owners continue to talk about a future regular-season NFL game in either Mexico or Germany.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said both countries have reached out about hosting games, expressing “renewed interest” among owners. The NFL has intentions to expand their international series. This year, they will have three games in London for the second year in a row.

In 2005, Arizona hosted San Francisco in Mexico City attracting a record regular-season crowd f 103,467. There have been five pre-season matches played in Germany, but not since 1994. Goodell also notes that Rio de Janeiro has shown interest in staging a Pro Bowl.

There is speculation that any games played in Mexico would take place in Guadalajara or Monterrey, not Mexico City even though Estadio Azteca, Aztec Stadium in Mexico City, is the largest stadium in the country.

But the iconic stadium has hosted two World Cups and is in need of major renovations to bring it up to par with the level of newer stadiums in Mexico such as Onmnlife in Guadalajara of the new BBVA Stadium in Monterrey where a pre-season game was hosted in 1996.

Yet, no one is ruling out Mexico’s capital city.

Mexico City secretary of economic development, Salomón Chertorivski, met with 49ers owner John York last November regarding the possibility of a game. That was the first time the public was made aware that the NFL may return to Mexico.

Over the past several months, Mexico City’s government has made efforts to attract international events, succeeding in the return of the Formula 1 for the first time in 23 years. Last November, the NBA held their second regular-season game in Mexico when the Timberwolves took on the Rockets.

Related: Mexico City of host Formula 1

“We already have great events in Mexico City. We have Formula 1, the NBA, the UFC, we’re trying to bring a NHL game also, and we are also looking to bring Major League Baseball,” said Horacio De la Vega, the director of Mexico City’s Sports Institute.

“We had a couple of visits from people from the NFL in Mexico City to check the stadiums. I think there will be a third very soon; we held conversations with the NFL because we’re focused in making this happen.”

De la Vega added they’re trying to sign a three-year deal with the NFL.

“There are many things to work out. It’s not the same locker room for 20 soccer players than one for 53 NFL ones, plus staff and their equipment. We need to be ready,” said Arturo Olive, NFL Mexico*s director. “Azteca Stadium and Estadio Olimpico have the most capacity, and that gives them a slight edge. But so far, there’s nothing ruled out.”

Olive thinks the major events to be held in Mexico City also help with enticing the NFL to return.

“It plays a role,” he said. “We’re using these events as an example to give them certainty that when they decide to come back, we are ready and holding world class events right now.”