It’s happening!

Yesterday, the NFL announced that they’ve granted 18 teams access to 26 “International Home Marketing Areas”:

Under the leadership of the International Committee, the NFL announced today that 18 teams have been granted access to 26 International Home Marketing Areas (IHMA) across eight different countries. This ground-breaking, new initiative grants clubs access to international territories for marketing, fan engagement and commercialization as part of an important, longterm, strategic effort to enable clubs to build their global brands while driving NFL fan growth internationally.

“NFL fandom begins with our clubs,” said Christopher Halpin, NFL Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy & Growth Officer. “This important initiative enables NFL teams to develop meaningful, direct relationships with NFL fans abroad, driving fan growth and avidity globally. We were very pleased with the number, creativity and level of commitment of club proposals across the board in this initial application period and look forward to teams launching their efforts early next year.”

As part of the International HMA program, clubs will have access to international markets for at least a five-year term, during which a club will have rights to pursue activities in that international market that are consistent with what they can do in their domestic HMA. This includes in-person and digital marketing, corporate sponsorship sales, fan events and activations, youth football activities, merchandise sales and co-marketing relationships with other sports and entertainment properties in the market.

How exciting! Finally, NFL fans in eight other countries can be connected to their favorite American pro football teams. Let’s see which countries made the cut, shall we?

Oh, hey. There’s China. With a little something extra:

Does the NFL know something we don’t?

Gross.

No way it’s by accident.

Congratulations, NFL. You’ve no doubt made Xi Jinping very happy and will be rewarded for your efforts.

But we recognize craven bootlicking when we see it.

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