The National Football League announced Wednesday that the Cardinals have been granted access to an International Home Marketing Area (IHMA) in Mexico. The announcement was made following ratification by the league's International Committee.
This ground-breaking initiative grants clubs access to international territories for marketing, fan engagement and commercialization as part of an important, long-term and strategic effort to enable clubs to build their global brands while driving NFL fan growth internationally.
"We are thrilled by today's news, which is the continuation of a long-standing commitment to our fan base in Mexico," Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said. "The Cardinals were proud to host the first NFL regular season game outside the United States when we played at Mexico City's Estadio Azteca in 2005.
"Our 20-station radio network delivers Cardinals games throughout Mexico, marking the 13th season our Spanish language game broadcasts are available in the country. And years of youth football camps and other grass-roots community initiatives have impacted the growing number of Cardinals fans in Mexico. We know that will only increase with the NFL's decision to select our franchise for this historic initiative."
During the 2005 season, offensive lineman Rolando Cantu became the first Mexican-born non-kicker to play in an NFL game. Cantu now serves as the Cardinals Manager of International Business Ventures in addition to his role as analyst for the team's Spanish language radio broadcasts.
As part of the International HMA program, clubs will have access to international markets for at least a five-year term, during which time a club will have rights to pursue activities in that international market that are consistent with what they can do in their domestic HMA. This includes in-person and digital marketing, corporate partnerships, fan events and activations, merchandise sales and co-marketing relationships with other sports and entertainment properties in the market.
A total of nine teams were awarded Mexico rights: Cardinals, Cowboys, Broncos, Texans, Chiefs, Raiders, Rams, Steelers, and 49ers. A total of eight foreign countries -- Canada, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, China, the U.K., Australia and Germany -- have at least one club delving into branding there.
Clubs can begin to activate in their awarded markets on January 1, 2022. Following the launch of this initiative, clubs may submit future proposals for International Committee review annually each spring.
Images from the Cardinals historic trip to Mexico City in 2005, when they beat the 49ers 31-14 and became the first team to win a regular-season game outside of the United States.