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Sky to launch first network in Europe dedicated solely to the NFL

NFL schedule release
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We know very well that Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL have been looking to expand the brand to international waters.

This is going to be difficult during an NFL season that will not have games played overseas due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though, it appears that the league has found another way to hit the European market in a big way.

NFL and Sky launch channel solely dedicated to pro football in United Kingdom and Ireland

According to Sports Business, Sky has held live rights to NFL games over the past 25 years. That has included the Super Bowl. What makes this different is that it will now have an entire station dedicated to NFL programming with an international broadcaster.

The above-linked report notes that this deal will run through the 2024 season and includes a minimum of five live games per week, exclusive rights to “Sunday Night Football” in Europe and the rights to broadcast all playoff games. That includes the Super Bowl.

Sky Sports NFL, as it is called, will also have a whole host of highlights and ancillary programming.

‚ÄúThis new five-year agreement and the launch of a dedicated Sky Sports NFL channel will undoubtedly continue our rapid growth in the UK and Ireland,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We are excited that our expanded partnership with Sky will provide even more NFL content to our millions of UK and Irish fans.”

This is just the latest example of the NFL expanding its audience clear across international borders. The league has been looking at the possibility of playing games in China. That has obviously taken a back seat due to what we’re seeing in the world today.

Even then, none of this has stopped the NFL from keeping its eyes on the European prize. It could also lead to a more direct relationship with those across the pond.

Could an NFL team be in London here soon?

The backdrop to all of this is the NFL’s continued push to relocate a team to the European hub. Most recently, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been bandied about as a possibility.

While there’s a lot of logistical issues that come with having an NFL team based in London, the economics of it makes sense for both the league and the United Kingdom.

Creating more interest in the brand within the confines of Europe could act as a precursor to a full-blown relationship between the NFL and the UK.