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NFL to play first game in Spain at Santiago Bernabeu after striking agreement with Real Madrid

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What was an open secret for months, today is finally a reality. The Santiago Bernabeu will host an NFL regular league game in 2025. The American soccer league will land in Spain and has chosen Chamartin as its first strategic port. Real Madrid’s venue thus beats the Metropolitano, the capital’s other major stadium, which also had ambitions to host the first NFL game on Spanish soil.

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After London, Mexico City, Munich, Frankfurt and Sao Paulo (in 2024), American football arrives in Madrid in its expansion policy and consolidates the capital as a hub of world sport and entertainment.

“We will bring the best of the NFL to Spain,” said NFL executive vice president, Peter O’Reilly, a few months ago. at the press conference for Super Bowl LVIII between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Atletico Madrid’s home had its location as a plus, as it is more conducive to the NFL’s huge deployment with an official store, clothing stands and food stands. But the prestige of the Bernabeu and the greater capacity of the stadium have finally tipped the balance.

Which teams will play at the Santiago Bernabeu?

The NFL schedule for 2025 is not yet known, but what is known is that the Miami Dolphins or Chicago Bears will play the home game in Madrid.

The American football league is enjoyed across the world with fans of many different franchises and these two teams, the Dolphins and Bears, were left with the Spanish market. Brazil, specifically Sao Paulo, won the award for 2024 and Madrid will pick up the baton for 2025.

“We are spending time in those markets,” O’Reilly said to media. “Building relationships and looking at the stadiums there. Brazil and Spain are two strong markets and two important markets.

NFL to play first game in Spain at Santiago Bernabeu after striking agreement with Real Madrid

The economic impact for the city

“Approximately ten million people in the U.S. watched the first match between Dolphins and Chiefs and got to know Frankfurt,” said Eintracht Frankfurt communications director Jan Martin Strasheim. “Our stadium and our soccer club, Eintracht.”

The two matches at Deutsche Bank Park in November, were considered a success, particularly in the view of their long term strategy in order to grow the sport and not just in terms of image. The economic return on such an event is enormous.

According to a study by The Sports Consultancy, the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks at the Allianz Arena in 2022 generated a total economic impact of 70.2 million euros ($75m) for the city of Munich, with 32.2 million euros ($34m) in direct spending as fans spent an average of 333 per day in Munich during the match weekend.

NFL joins Formula 1 in Madrid

The NFL’s announcement comes a few days after the presentation of the capital’s new Formula 1 circuit, which will become home to the Spanish Grand Prix from 2026.

The two sporting giants will land in the city within a year of each other and that will put Madrid even more in the international spotlight of sports fans.

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