COMMENTARY: NFL should consider Mexican fans’ preferences when making international schedule

As one of the most popular franchises in the world, the Dallas Cowboys would be a great candidate to have play in the NFL Mexico City games.

Keith Allison / Wiki Creative Commons

As one of the most popular franchises in the world, the Dallas Cowboys would be a great candidate to have play in the NFL Mexico City games.

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In a country that is strongly dominated by fútbol, the NFL has a very strong fanbase. According to Forbes Magazine, Mexico has the largest international NFL fan base, and football is the country’s second most popular sport. 

Approximately nine NFL games are aired weekly through Televisa, ESPN, Fox and TV Azteca. Movie theaters in Mexico occasionally air Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football games. 

On Nov. 18, the Los Angeles Chargers played the Kansas City Chiefs at legendary Estadio Azteca. With thousands of cheering fans, a homecoming for the Chargers’ Michael Davis, NFL sponsored children’s clinics and a great pregame show by ESPN, the hype for this game was incredible. 

The stage was set for an amazing spectacle. But instead, it was the lowest attended NFL game at Estadio Azteca with only 76,252 fans, per Forbes. Estadio Azteca has a seating capacity of 87,000 people.

It’s no coincidence that the Chargers were picked to be the home team against the Chiefs. According to SportingNews, the former San Diego-based team has the worst attendance in the NFL – drawing approximately 25,385 fans. 

It’s no surprise that Kansas City played the Chargers. Clark Hunt, the Chiefs’ owner, is on the NFL international committee. Obviously his team was going to play on the biggest international game of the season.

Reigning league MVP Patrick Mahomes is one of the most electrifying players in the NFL. Armed with Mahomes, as well as Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, the Chiefs seemed like they would provide a great offensive display. However, Mahomes and company failed to live up to the offensive hype. 

While the Chargers have plenty of great players, the focus was on their undrafted cornerback, Davis. Davis, whose grandparents live 45 minutes from Estadio Azteca, served as the NFL ambassador to Mexico this past offseason. Davis’ pregame segment on ESPN was amazing; his team’s performance was atrocious.

This game had the tools to make a great international showdown—two divisional rivals with star players. Last season, the Chargers were the only team to beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs’ home field. 

However, the game was boring, filled with miscues and difficult to watch. Mahomes is still hurt, Hill suffered a hamstring injury and the Chiefs’ defense still can’t stop the run. The Chargers might as well pack up their bags and prepare for the offseason. Their season is over. 

If the NFL still wishes to schedule games in Mexico and most importantly make some serious money, they should schedule fan-favorite teams. According to Forbes, the New England Patriots are the most popular team in Mexico. The Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers follow suit.

It’s no surprise that two Cowboys games at Azteca hold the record for the two highest-attended regular season NFL game in history with 112,376 and 106,424 fans respectively, per Sporting News

NFL, make the right choice. Please schedule teams that fans want to see. You’ll get what you want: a full stadium and a major profit.