Published On: Fri, Jun 28th, 2019

Future of NFL in Mexico in doubt as government pulls funding ahead of Chargers vs Chiefs | NFL | Sport

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The NFL are still currently planning to play the Week 11 game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs but the future is uncertain going forward.

According to a report from AS the future of Mexico hosting the NFL and Formula 1 could be in doubt.

Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, Miguel Torruco said the decision is because the government will not allocate funding to bring sports games to Mexico, because it has been allocated to other needs the country has.

“The decision does not depend on us, we will not have resources for that game of football,” said Torruco.

“It would be good if it stayed, but it is a reality that we do not have a budget for the following year.”

Mexico was the first country outside of the United States to hold a regular season game, when in 2005 the Arizona Cardinals beat the San Francisco 49ers 31–14 in front of over 103,000 spectators at Azteca Stadium.

Fans then had to wait 11 years before the NFL would return when the Oakland Raiders beat the Houston Texans 27-20.

The following year didn’t fare so well for the Raiders who lost 33-8 to the New England Patriots in 2017.

But the NFL appeared keen to continue to host games south of their border, as the Mexico City metro area, which is home to over 20million people, is believed to host the NFL’s seventh-largest fan base in North America.

The 2018 season saw Mexico City preparing to host one of the most anticipated regular season games of the year with the Los Angeles Rams preparing to take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

However, only six days before the game was due to kick-off the NFL moved the game from Mexico City to L.A. due to the poor condition of the field at Azteca Stadium.

Both the Rams and the Chiefs held a 9-1 record going into the game and the NFL felt it could not risk the players’ health on a damaged field.

“The combination of a difficult rainy season and a heavy multi-event calendar of events at the stadium have resulted in significant damage to the field that presents unnecessary risks to player safety and makes it unsuitable to host an NFL game,” said Mark Waller, the NFL’s executive vice president of international.

“As a result, we have determined that moving the game is the right decision, and one that we needed to announce now in order to allow our teams and fans to make alternate arrangements.”

The 2019 game between the Chargers and the Chiefs is still expected to go ahead at the Azteca Stadium in November, but although the NFL had previously reiterated its intent to host games there through 2021, this now looks in doubt.

It costs around $15m to stage NFL games in Mexico, according to AS, with the report suggesting sponsorship had previously covered most of the organisational costs.

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