The NFL has announced that its first game in Spain will be played at the Santiago Bernabéu in partnership with Real Madrid.
The announcement that the NFL will be played in Madrid was made during a conference at the Mandalay Bay Convention Centre in Las Vegas. This makes Spain the fifth country to participate in the NFL’s International Games, following the UK, Mexico, Germany and Brazil.
Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, commented: “Playing a game in Madrid in 2025 highlights the continued expansion of the league’s global footprint and the accelerated ambitions to take our game to more fans around the world.”
In initial plans set out at the conference, the football game will be played at the Santiago Bernabéu, the home of Real Madrid, which has recently been renovated.
Goodell added: “We are proud to partner with Real Madrid C.F., a global brand, together with the City of Madrid and Comunidad de Madrid, to bring a spectacular regular season game to Spain at the world-class Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.”
In addition to the announcement, the organisation also unveiled a new logo that featured the words “Madrid Game”, with the match scheduled to take place in 2025.
Peter O’Reilly, NFL Executive Vice President of Club Business, International and League Events, said: “In December, NFL owners voted to expand the number of NFL games played internationally every year, moving from four league-operated games to now up to eight regular-season games starting in 2025.
“And what that does is allow us to explore new markets, new partners, new passionate fan bases around the world who love the NFL and haven’t had the chance to experience the NFL live and in-person.”
The Spanish team’s stadium has completed its renovation with features, such as a retractable surface that allows the pitch to be changed to an NFL-calibre field, eliminating a massive hurdle to holding the game there.
In England, top-flight football team Tottenham Hotspur has previously hosted the NFL and the league has announced plans to repeat this, with the match scheduled later this year alongside German-based club Bayern Munich.
O’Reilly added: “We could not be more excited to bring the best of the NFL, the best of our teams, our star players to our more than 13 million passionate fans in Spain and to partner with one of the greatest global soccer clubs in Real Madrid and a truly world-class and innovative stadium.”
Looking to further expand, the organisation explained that it was looking to play games in more countries around the world, but still has to work out the ‘logistics’ before confirming its plans.
“Nothing imminent in terms of going to Asia or Australia, but that’s something that we continue to consider because there are clearly great stadiums, great partners there,” said O’Reilly.
“Travel is a factor, and that will be something we continue to look at. But there are real opportunities in real parts of the world that are important to reach with our game, and we will look to continue to do that and explore that operationally.”