Exclusive: NFL considering the Steelers to play in Mexico in 2016
Sources close to negotiations claim that the Pittsburgh side will be the protagonists of the first official NFL on Aztec turf since 2005.
NFL’s return to Mexico is just a question of hours, days or at the most, a few weeks; sources close to negotiations have told AS. Pittsburgh Steelers are close to closing an agreement to become one of the first sides to dispute a regular season game in the NFL’s forthcoming return to Mexico.
Back in May, Steelers president Art Rooney II stated his interest in seeing the North Division outfit play an official game in Mexico, where they have played before – in the 2000/1 pre-season.
“We would be delighted to play another game in Mexico at some point. Taking the NFL to another country (apart from England) is a very interesting proposal for the Steelers”, Rooney told Sportingnews.com back on 24 May.
At the start of August, AS reported that the NFL had approved a plan to stage a regular season game in Mexico over a five-year period – a project which would, in theory, get underway in 2017 or 2018, according to NFL Director Arturo Olivé.
Meanwhile, during Friday’s meeting between New York Jets and Miami Dolphins at Wembley, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport announced that a regular season match would take place in Mexico in the 2016 season.
Talks have taken longer than expected because the government in Mexico D.F. are keen to ensure that they take charge of the promotion and organizational side of the event and would set aside funds to do so. However, Grupo Televisa, the owners of the Aztec stadium are just as eager to play an important role in the staging of NFL games in the country.
Another venue, the Olímpico Universitario de la UNAM is the second option and Televisa would be willing to cede broadcasting rights but for capacity reasons, the NFL favour the Azteca which holds the attendance record for a NFL regular season game – 103,467, a figure which the league hopes to surpass.