What Do Europeans Think Of American Football ( All You Need To Know!)

Last Updated on October 16, 2023 by Alex PT

European opinion on American football is mixed, with some finding it exciting and strategic, while others find it slow-paced and confusing. A 2023 study by DAZN found that 30% of Europeans have a positive view of American football, while 25% have a negative view. The sport is most popular in the UK and Germany, where it has a growing following.

Is American Football Really Popular In Europe?

Is American Football Really Popular In Europe

Not really. The sport isn’t as popular as other team sports in Europe. Most people in Europe prefer rugby and soccer to American football. But that’s not to say that the sport isn’t gaining popularity in Europe. As a matter of fact, American football has fans all over the world and it even gets better year by year. Most citizens in Europe still find time out of their busy schedules to watch the NFL games in Europe. Women and teenagers love the sport better mainly because of the tailgate parties and the celebrations of the event. However, that’s one of the criticisms of the game for some people. 

How Popular Is American Football in Europe

1. The Birth of American Football in Europe:

Contrary to popular belief, American football has a long-standing history in Europe. It was brought by soldiers during World War II. Since then, there has been a steady growth of the sport, attracting both players and spectators. This historical involvement underlines American football’s popularity in Europe.

2. Flourishing Leagues and Teams:

The presence of numerous American football leagues in Europe is a testament to its popularity. Europe boasts numerous leagues such as the German Football League, British American Football Association, and Austrian Football League, among others. Each country’s league nurtures multiple teams, indicating a well-structured and organized system.

CountryMajor League
GermanyGerman Football League
United KingdomBritish American Football Association
AustriaAustrian Football League

3. NFL Games in Europe:

The regular hosting of NFL games in Europe reflects the sport’s widespread appeal. The NFL International Series began in 2007, and it has been a resounding success. These games pull in thousands of spectators and attract extensive media coverage.

4. The Support of American Football Fans in Europe:

Fan support is a significant indicator of American football’s popularity in Europe. The presence of energetic, passionate, and dedicated fans in Europe is remarkable. Thanks to the digital age, these European fans keep up with the sport through streaming services and social networking sites dedicated to American football.

5. Growth in Player Participation:

An increase in the number of participants signals the sport’s continuing popularity. There are more than 1,500 American football clubs in Europe, including both youth and senior teams. This indicates an active participation base that contributes to the sport’s growth.

6. Media Coverage:

Media coverage of American football in Europe has intensified over the last decade. Numerous sports networks broadcast American football games, and there’s an increase in the number of articles and news features related to the sport.

7. Presence of American Players in European Leagues:

The European leagues are not just for Europeans. They frequently feature American players, often those who didn’t make it into the NFL. This cross-continent exchange is yet another indicator of the sport’s popularity.

What Europeans Think Of American Football

We’ve listed some of the things that the Europeans think of the classic football of the Americans. 

This Game Can’t Thrive Under Harsh Weather Condition 

Most Europeans believe that the sport doesn’t thrive well during cold and hot days. Well, that’s true. American football is a game that isn’t continuous; with a series of breaks and short plays. As a result, players can freeze when it’s cold and get overheated when it’s hot between plays. Don’t even try playing the game on the wet surface. It is almost impossible because you just won’t get the needed traction. 

It Does Engage All The Players During The Game

Unlike other team sports where you need to be quick and pacey when passing the ball to any of your teammates, American football has a different playing concept. Literally, not all players get hold of the ball throughout the game. This is one of the reasons why Europeans feel differently about the sport because they expect all players to touch the ball during the gameplay. 

This Game Requires Lots Of Playing Equipment 

If you’re participating in the sport as a professional player or a recreational player, you’ll have to buy a couple of gear like helmets, shoulder pads, jerseys, cleats, thigh and knee pads, and gloves. The cost of buying all this playing equipment overwhelms the Europeans. 

It’s Identical To Rugby

American football is quite similar to rugby, so most Europeans still prefer rugby. The game of rugby is at least a continuous game to some extent, unlike American football which gets interrupted for a foul more often and has a lot of short plays and breaks. 

Its Rules Are Too Difficult To Understand 

Generally, American football is quite difficult to learn, especially for a none American. Since some Europeans find the rules of the game quite difficult to understand, they make fun of it and register their passion elsewhere. 

The Gameplay Is Boring And Slow-paced 

Most Europeans believe that American football is boring and too slow. Some of them even say it is one of the team sports with slow-paced gameplay in the world. They claim that they would have loved it if the sort engaged all the players during the game like basketball and soccer.

American Football Is Still Gaining Popularity

American Football Is Still Gaining Popularity

The sport keeps soaring in popularity in some parts of the world even though some Europeans believe that it is a boring and slow game. If we look into some stats from Statista, whose job is to deliver different statistics, including sports, we’ll see how popular American football is outside the United States. Let’s take a European country like Germany for example. Only about 1.5 million German fans watched the games in 2014. However, there has been an increase in 2020 as about 2.44 million German citizens follow up with the American football weekly games. 


We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers about what Europeans think about American football. Let’s check it out! 

Do Europeans Have American Football?

Yes! IFAF, the International Federation of American Football works in hand with EFL, the European Football League, which is a major competition for European American football teams. The last game of the EFL was the Eurobowl which was normally played every year ever since 1986. The new BIG6 European Football League and the EFL Bowl introduced Europe’s top-tier club competition as the new final game of the EFL in 2014. 

Is American Football Popular In Other Countries?

American football is popular in some countries outside the United States, but not as popular as soccer (European football). Most of the time, American football is still in the developing process in most countries. However, countries like Austria, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Australia, and Germany are countries with teams playing a professional level of American football with over 45,000 registered players and around 450 club teams. 

Bottom Line

As you can see, the complexity and rigidity of American football seem to be the major talk of criticism in Europe. The Americans feel like their football is the best, while don’t even like the fact that it is called football when it’s played with the hands. If you’re a European still interested in the game of American football, you can check our related articles about the fundamentals of the sport.  We’ve reached the closing chapter of this informative article. We hope you were able to find good resources in your quest to know what Europeans think of American football. If you have any questions or comments about the article topic, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks.



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