By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
June 14, 2013
Already popular here in the U.S., its only natural for the Big Four sports leagues to continue looking abroad to grow their brands. In the past couple weeks, both Major League Baseball and the NFL have announced big plans to stage games internationally.
Culminating years of negotiations, MLB will begin its 2014 season in Sydney, Australia, with a two-game series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s the sixth time MLB had played a series outside of the U.S., with the previous three taking place in Japan. The games have been called “the biggest sporting event in Sydney since the 2003 Rugby World Cup final.” If the games are successful, Australian officials will attempt to host MLB every four years.
While MLB prepares for its temporary series in Sydney, the NFL is exploring a permanent presence overseas. Commissioner Roger Goodell publicly acknowledged the league’s exploring having a full-time team in London. The NFL could play up to three games per season in the U.K. over the next few years. While no timetable exists for a permanent franchise, the interest clearly is there.