The Super Bowl is an annual American sports tradition like no other, but the time might be coming for the USA to share it with the rest of the world.
England’s Daily Mail is reporting that London Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur is eyeing a bid to host the Super Bowl in its new stadium as early as 2026. And the same article claims that the NFL would be open to it.
The $1.5 billion Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which opened in 2019, has already hosted NFL games as part of a 10-year, $54 million deal with the NFL. The facility was built with the NFL in mind; it has a regulation NFL field below its grass soccer surface.
A bid for the Super Bowl would reportedly help both parties: It would give Tottenham Hotspur an opportunity to expand its brand in the United States and potentially land a lucrative naming rights partner.
And taking the Super Bowl to London would also build the international appeal of the NFL, which hopes to turn its signature event into more of a global phenomenon.
Tottenham considering a bid to host the 2026 Super Bowl as club target American market. NFL aware of their interest and open to taking showpiece event overseas at some point.
— Matt Hughes (@MattHughesDM) February 10, 2022
Could the NFL’s Super Bowl be played overseas?
The NFL’s international push is clearly a priority. The same Daily Mail report claims that Sydney, Australia, could be pushing to get into the Super Bowl mix. That follows a recent NFL announcement that Germany is entering the regular-season host rotation beginning with the 2022 season.
While the novelty of a first international Super Bowl would likely generate plenty of buzz and conversation, the obvious challenge of a London Super Bowl would be the time difference. For the Super Bowl to maintain its time slot at 6:30 p.m. ET in the United States, that would entail an 11:30 p.m. local time start in London.
Municipal regulations in the area of London that houses Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could pose a challenge a near-midnight kickoff, according to Daily Mail chief sports reporter Matt Hughes.
Notwithstanding the potential issues — not to mention the potential U.S. fan backlash for those who would have to travel internationally to watch their team play for the NFL title — the league could be ready to experiment with an overseas Super Bowl if the bids are as competitive as the American ones. The NFL is an established, unassailable, money-making behemoth in the USA. Overseas represents the obvious opportunity for the expansion of the sport’s fan base and revenues.
As far as upcoming Super Bowl venues, the NFL has already mapped out the next three sites following SoFi Stadium’s hosting of the Feb. 13 championship game between the Bengals and Rams:
- 2023: Glendale, Ariz. (State Farm Stadium)
- 2024: Las Vegas (Allegiant Stadium)
- 2025: New Orleans (Caesars Superdome)
The 2026 Super Bowl would make history if Tottenham Hotspur can actually succeed in landing the event. Clearly, the NFL will ultimately have to determine whether the long-term benefits of taking the Super Bowl to the world outweigh the potential negative reaction from its American fan base.
The Daily Mail report alone has generated plenty of debate about how exporting an all-American event like the Super Bowl would go down in the USA and abroad. That will only grow if and when an international bid does materialize.
The Super Bowl played at Tottenham one day? And why not the Champions League final in Los Angeles?!?!? Leave the Super Bowl where it is, it’s perfect the way it is! (Go @RamsNFL by the way!) @Marcotti @ESPNFC #GabAndJulsShow pic.twitter.com/tyq8huCm2d
— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) February 11, 2022