The four major professional sports do it, and now more major college football teams are thinking about playing international games.
The concept is not uncommon in college football with Notre Dame playing Navy in Dublin, Ireland and Penn State playing there later this year, but according to ESPN president John Skipper, the network has held discussions with the Big 12 and Pac-12 about the potential of playing football in Mexico City. No dates or potential teams were mentioned. “Keep your eye on it,” Skipper said, per CBSSports.com.
Texas athletic director Steve Patterson has already spoken about his desire to play games at neutral sites, especially internationally, mentioning Mexico City as a possibility. And Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, with Patterson, has already planned a Washington vs. Texas men’s basketball game to be played in China in 2015.
Playing internationally is a chance for teams and brands, professional or otherwise, to expand their footprint and reach new markets, but a college football game in Mexico City – or Dublin, or anywhere – doesn’t seem fair to the fans of the sport. The MLB, NHL and NBA each play over 80 games a season, and the NFL is a global brand whose American fans don’t seem as keen on playing in London as much as Roger Goodell. But college football is eight weeks a year where the team plays at home, and taking the game to Mexico City would take away a home game from Austin, Texas or a rival school.
Plus, the last time two major American sports teams played in Mexico City, the arena caught on fire. But when the deal is complete at least Steve Patterson gets to yell this.