The NFL is moving its 2020 five-game International Series back to the U.S. due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the league announced in a statement Monday. The NFL was scheduled to play two games at Wembley Stadium and two at Tottenham Hotspur’s home ground in London, as well as one game in in Mexico City at Azteca Stadium although no dates were announced.
Additionally, the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins were the four organizations set to be home teams during the International Series. Instead, these teams will now play all of their home games at their respective stadiums in the U.S. — assuming that the 2020 NFL season is played as scheduled in the fall.
NFL officially will not play any international games this season: pic.twitter.com/SrvsU81bSm
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 4, 2020
“After considerable analysis, we believe the decision to play all our games domestically this season is the right one for our players, our clubs, and all our fans in the US, Mexico and UK,” said NFL Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy & Growth Officer Christopher Halpin in the statement. “We greatly appreciate the support of our governmental and stadium partners in Mexico and the United Kingdom, who all agree with this decision, and we look forward to returning for games in both countries in the 2021 season.”
The International Series was started in 2007 as a way to grow the NFL’s global fanbase, and the games in the United Kingdom were broadcast on Sky Sports and BBC Sports. Since the series began, the NFL has held at least one regular season game in London every year and the Jaguars have hosted one game there every season since 2013. In recent seasons, the games have grown in popularity and the number of international fans has surged. Last year, Reuters reported that ticket demand for the NFL’s five international games had jumped 55% compared to in 2018. Additionally, the number of domestic ticket sales to international fans traveling to the U.S. to watch a game increased by 19% last season, with most of the demand coming from Canada, Mexico, Australia, the UK and Germany.
The NFL is expected to release the full 2020 schedule later this week.