The NFL is doing a staggered rollout of its schedule this year, with the first Thursday Night Football game on Amazon announced during last week’s draft but the full schedule not released until Thursday, May 12 following some further smaller releases. The latest unveiling is of the five international games this year: the host teams were already announced in February, but the full matchups and broadcast details were announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the full list of games and broadcast information:
|October 2||Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, UK||Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints||9:30 a.m. ET||NFL Network|
|October 9||Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, UK||New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers||9:30 a.m. ET||NFL Network|
|October 30||Wembley Stadium, London, UK||Denver Broncos vs. Jacksonville Jaguars||9:30 a.m. ET||ESPN+|
|November 13||Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany||Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers||9:30 a.m. ET||NFL Network|
|November 21||Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico||San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals||8:15 p.m. ET||ESPN|
The ESPN games are perhaps particularly interesting, as that Broncos-Jaguars game will be the first-ever NFL game exclusive to ESPN+. Here’s more on that from an ESPN release:
ESPN and ESPN+ will each carry an international games during the 2022 NFL season, with the first-ever exclusive NFL game on ESPN+ and the return of Monday Night Football to Mexico City. ESPN+ will feature the Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars from Wembley Stadium in London, England, at 9:30 a.m. ET on October 30 (Week 8) and Monday Night Football will see the San Francisco 49ers play the Arizona Cardinals from Estadio Azteca Stadium at 8 p.m. on November 21 (Week 11). Both games will also be available on local broadcast stations in the markets of the participating teams, with Monday Night Football also airing on ESPN Deportes.
…The exclusive ESPN+ NFL game this season begins an annual occurrence for the platform, as ESPN+ will carry one international game each year through the 2033 season – the duration of the new rights agreement announced last year. Select Monday Night Football and Super Wild Card games have been simulcast on ESPN+ previously.
…Monday Night Football from Mexico City will leverage ESPN’s Mexico City production studios and local marketing resources as the network televises its fourth NFL game from the city. Previously, the franchise televised games from there in 2019 (Chiefs-Chargers) and 2016 (Raiders-Texans), following a Sunday Night Football telecast in 2005 (Cardinals-49ers).
Outside of the US, ESPN will air both games throughout Spanish-speaking Latin America, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, the Netherlands and Africa.
ESPN+ now joins a select set of streaming services to receive a national exclusive NFL game: the only others there are Yahoo (2015 and 2017, 2017 seen above) and Amazon (one Saturday game in 2020, the full Thursday night package beginning this fall). (Twitter has also carried Thursday Night Football streaming, as has Amazon, and Yahoo has streamed significant numbers of NFL games, but those broadcasts were not national exclusives.)
It’s also notable that this is a bit of a return to normal for the NFL’s international plans. The league was set to play five international games in 2020 (four in London and one in Mexico City), but cancelled those due to challenges with holding international events during the COVID-19 pandemic. They then played only two international games last season, both in London. So they’re back on a fuller slate now. And these ones all matter on the broadcasting side; these three NFL Network ones matter with the full slate of Thursday games going to Amazon, reducing the amount of broadcasts NFLN gets, the ESPN+ one is a big deal for that service, and the ESPN broadcast from Mexico is always a big event for them. We’ll see how these international games go.