The National Football League (NFL) has granted international marketing rights for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to two of its teams, heightening the possibility of an NFL game on the island of Ireland.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been awarded international marketing rights in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, while the Jacksonville Jaguars have been granted rights in the Republic of Ireland, the NFL announced on Tuesday, May 23.
Shad Khan, the owner of the Jaguars, which has had rights in the UK for about ten years, said on Tuesday: "I am delighted to be able to announce that we are expanding our marketing rights into the Republic of Ireland, which not only underpins our long-term commitment to the UK but presents us with the opportunity to amplify our trajectory of growth internationally.
"The Republic is famous for its love of American Football, therefore appealing to new Jaguars fans through meaningful fan engagement and bespoke initiatives that will contribute to communities in the Republic, will truly reflect the Jaguars position as an international NFL team."
Hey Republic of Ireland 👋, we're coming!
Very excited to announce we have been granted the license to expand into the Republic of Ireland through the @NFL Global Markets Programme
We cannot wait to get started ☘️#DUUUVAL pic.twitter.com/egleG749de— Jaguars UK and IE (@JaguarsUKandIE) May 23, 2023
Meanwhile, Steelers president Art Rooney II said on Tuesday: "We are excited to have been granted the rights to engage more deeply with our fans in Ireland.
"My family has deep roots throughout Ireland and being able to connect with our fans across the Island is something special to our organization. My father [Dan Rooney] did so much in Ireland during his lifetime, first as one of the founders of the Ireland Funds, then as Ambassador.
"We look forward to growing our fan base and the love of American football in the years to come."
Where our roots run deep 🤝
We’ve received marketing rights for the island of Ireland through the @NFL’s 'Global Markets Program'!
Here We Go, @SteelersIreland!— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 23, 2023
A statement from the Pittsburgh Steelers noted that the organization can now carry out in-person activities such as fan and youth football activities throughout Ireland, and partake in corporate sponsorship and merchandise sales, as well as co-marketing relationships throughout the island of Ireland.
The Pittsburgh Steelers also unveiled its 'official Ireland account' on Tuesday:
Some things just go together 🤝
The Pittsburgh Steelers Ireland account is here, and we couldn’t be more excited. Stay tuned for updates, highlights and so much more. #HEREWEGO pic.twitter.com/gtHFuxpysh— Steelers Ireland (@SteelersIreland) May 23, 2023
In July 1997, the Steelers played the Chicago Bears in a preseason match-up at Dublin's Croke Park, the only NFL game to ever be played in Ireland.
Looking back: #Steelers in Dublin Ireland, 1997.
More 📸: https://t.co/xCO1D3GQMM pic.twitter.com/qclrAi0txh— Steelers History (@SteelersHistory) May 23, 2023
According to The Irish Times, Pittsburgh Steelers representatives will be in Croke Park on Thursday, May 25 to outline details of their successful bid in attaining NFL marketing rights for the island of Ireland – which includes an ambition of eventually playing again in Dublin.
The NFL's Global Markets Program grants NFL clubs access to international markets for marketing, fan engagement, and commercialization activations as part of an important, long-term strategic effort to enable clubs to build their brands globally while driving NFL fan growth beyond the US.
NFL clubs can apply for rights to selected international markets by submitting proposals for the International Committee to review each spring. Clubs are awarded rights for at least a five-year term through the program. During this period, a club has the rights to pursue activities in that international market that are largely consistent with what they can do in their home market.
Peter O'Reilly, NFL executive vice president, club business, major events and international, said on Tuesday: "We are thrilled to see the shared ambition of our teams in growing the NFL around the world, and this expansion demonstrates not only the momentum of the Global Markets Program as we head into year two, but the value the participating clubs are already seeing from this important initiative.
"We know that global fandom is accelerated through direct engagement with our clubs and players, and we are excited to see the continued impact of this program to reach and engage more fans and grow our sport at every level globally."