Sports News

Mexico City game had $45 million economic impact: study

Nov 21, 2016; Mexico City, MEX; General overall view of a Mexican flag on the field and fireworks during the playing of the Mexico national anthem before a NFL International Series game between the Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders at Estadio Azteca. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - The NFL’s return to Mexico City last November to stage the first-ever Monday Night Football game outside the United States had a $45 million economic impact on the city, the league said on Thursday.

The game attracted 9,500 international visitors who, on average, spent more than five days in Mexico, as well as 21,500 visitors from elsewhere in the country, according to the results of a study commissioned by the NFL.

The study also said total domestic and international tourist spending was $43 million, of which $32 million was incremental to Mexico City’s economy.

A sellout crowd of 76,473 attended the game between the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans at the Azteca Stadium, which marked the first time a regular-season NFL game had been played in Mexico since 2005.

The NFL, which is committed to growing the game beyond the borders of the United States, announced three weeks ago that it will return to Mexico City for a second consecutive year when the Raiders host the New England Patriots at the Azteca Stadium during the 2017 season.

That clash would be the first NFL game held in Mexico since U.S. President Donald Trump took office last month. But the NFL does not expect politics or Trump’s planned wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep it from moving ahead with the game.

“I never say never because obviously a lot can happen between now and when we play the game but at the moment I don’t foresee any circumstances under which the game wouldn’t take place,” Mark Waller, the NFL’s Executive Vice President of International, told Reuters.

“But if you were to ask me the same question about (our four scheduled London games in 2017) I would give you the same answer which is we would expect to go ahead but things can change there as well.”

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto. Editing by Steve Keating.