Last Updated on October 16, 2023 by Alex PT
American football is the second most popular North American sport in Brazil, with around 41% of adults identifying as fans. The NFL has a significant presence in the country, with regular broadcasts of games and a growing social media following.
How Popular Is American Football In Brazil
American football in Brazil has been steadily gaining popularity over the years, though it remains a niche sport compared to soccer. Here are some details regarding its popularity:
- Growing Interest: American football has seen increased interest and participation in Brazil. The number of registered players and teams has been on the rise, with around 8,000 registered players as of my last update in September 2021.
- Youth and Collegiate Programs: Brazil has a growing network of youth and collegiate programs. Many universities and schools have established American football teams, which has contributed to the sport’s development.
- Professional Leagues: Brazil has professional American football leagues like the BFA (Brasil Futebol Americano), which feature local teams and attract fans to stadiums. The league has contributed to raising the sport’s profile in the country.
- Television Coverage: While American football doesn’t enjoy the same level of TV coverage as soccer, there has been an increase in broadcasting American football games, particularly during major events like the Super Bowl. This has helped in exposing more Brazilians to the sport.
- Super Bowl Popularity: The Super Bowl, with its extravagant halftime shows and commercials, has gained a significant following in Brazil. It’s not uncommon to see Super Bowl parties and gatherings among enthusiasts, drawing both football fans and those interested in the entertainment spectacle.
- Challenges: Despite its growth, American football in Brazil faces challenges such as limited infrastructure, funding, and competition from other sports. Soccer remains deeply ingrained in Brazilian culture, making it tough for other sports to compete for attention.
History Of The American Football In Brazil
In 2008, Brazil recorded the first official American football match 2008 between Curitiba Brown Spiders and Barigui Crocodiles, which are two Brazilian teams. The basic techniques of American football were facilitated by about 100 coaches from American high school and adult amateur teams. Soccer has always been the most popular sport in Brazil, but now, some of its media attention has been shifted towards American football.
Unfortunately, there haven’t been a lot of sponsors. Most of the sponsorship money in most states in the country is geared towards soccer. Thanks to Victor Menossi Rodrigues, Brazilian/American football has been developing at a good rate. One good news is that a huge number of Brazilian women and young ladies have shown their interest in the sport. There have been occasions where women are seen in the parties of American football, more or less the American tailgate party.
Besides, educational organizations have been encouraging children between the ages of 8 to 13 to show interest in American football. Truth be told, American football has been gaining some of the fanbase of other popular sports in Brazil like Formula One and Volleyball. The birthplace of American football in Brazil remains Copacabana Beach. In Brazilian history, Copacabana Beach was the place where the first game of American football was played, with 20 players on the beach. People interested in playing the game but couldn’t get any available beaches were seen using the public parks. However, the organizers of this game must pay a token of at least $300 as rent.
Brazilian Version Of The NFL
When the game first started in the country, there was little playing equipment. All they had was footballs imported from America and mouthguards from boxing rings. The only issue that the NFL, and National Football League had back then from expanding into Brazil was the prohibitive travel expenses. Establishing a Brazilian version of the NFL was the only solution to have professional American football in Brazil.
Ever since, most Brazilians are now paying more attention to a different type of football since the sport has started gaining space in the country, which is widely recognized as the land of soccer. Some of the most traditional soccer clubs in Brazil have established their own American football teams. Besides, there have been rumors that Nike is now selling NFL jerseys in the country for the first time. That’s to tell you that the sport is expected to thrive well. As a matter of fact, a coach in the country who is a former NFL player said within a short time, American football will become one of the most popular sports behind soccer in Brazil.
The good thing is the country has a national team that’s competing at the international level, and the level of talent in the country is impeccable. Just like we said earlier, football games are played in other parks, fields, and on beaches across the country like the Rio de Janeiro beaches, where soccer and foot-volley are also played. That’s not all. We’ve also seen American football played in some traditional soccer stadiums. This sport is starting to leave its mark in the country even though it is likely not possible for it to challenge the popularity of soccer. Brazilian soccer fans are now shared with American football fans.
Advancement Of Cable TV Helped American Football In Brazil
Sometimes ago, people who knew much about American football in Brazil were limited as the sport was practically exclusive to Brazilians who used to live abroad or Americans and Europeans who lived in the country. People in the country didn’t really like the game at first because they felt it was too violent and the rules were too complex. Thanks to the advancement of cable TV, more Brazilians are now fortunate to have unlimited access to the sport.
In the early 1990s, NFL games in Brazil were broadcast by ESPN. Brazilians can watch at least 6 games via the ESPN channel every week and it was great to know that viewership grew 29 percent last season. Fans can also catch up with live-action of the American football league on the broadcast channel Esporte Interativo. According to a recent study, about 23.8 million people in Brazil were able to catch up with the live games with an average of almost 900,000 per game.
Participation Of Brazilians In American Football
Brazilians aren’t just watching American football., they also participate in the sport. According to the Brazilian Confederation of American Football, there are about 4,800 active players, excluding those with youth & women’s levels, flag football teams, and 120 American football teams in Brazil. And the good news is that new teams are being established every year. In 2012, the BCAF, Brazilian Confederation of American Football was established to help develop the sport in the country. To be honest, the local leagues have been growing sporadically and local TV shows the live games. Mitchell, a former player in the NFL in the 1990s, led the Coritiba Crocodiles to the title of the IV Brasil Bowl, and he’s now appointed as the head coach of the Maringa Pyros this season.
How did American football become popular outside the United States?
American football’s popularity outside the United States has grown over the years due to several factors and efforts. Here are the details of how American football became popular internationally:
- Globalization and Media Exposure: American football’s international popularity can be attributed to the globalization of media. The NFL, the sport’s premier league, has invested heavily in international broadcasting, making games accessible to audiences worldwide. Television networks and streaming platforms have played a crucial role in showcasing American football to a global audience.
- International Exhibition Games: The NFL began organizing international exhibition games in the 1980s, which allowed fans in other countries to experience the sport firsthand. These games were often played in Europe, Mexico, and other regions, exposing new audiences to American football.
- Youth and Amateur Leagues: American football’s popularity has grown through the establishment of youth and amateur leagues in various countries. Local teams and leagues give people the opportunity to learn and play the sport, helping to build a grassroots following.
- Global Talent Development: The NFL and other football organizations have invested in scouting and developing international talent. As a result, several players from countries outside the United States have made it to the NFL, becoming role models and drawing attention to the sport in their home countries.
- International Competitions: Events like the American Football World Cup and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) tournaments have provided a platform for national teams from around the world to compete. These competitions have generated interest and excitement for American football on the global stage.
- Academic and Cultural Exchange Programs: American football has benefited from academic and cultural exchange programs that encourage international students to study and play the sport in the United States. These exchanges facilitate the transfer of knowledge and passion for American football to other countries.
- Investment in Infrastructure: As American football’s popularity has grown, many countries have invested in infrastructure, including stadiums, training facilities, and coaching programs, to support the sport’s development.
- Fan Engagement: Fan engagement through social media, online communities, and fan clubs has played a significant role in spreading the sport’s popularity. Fans from around the world connect online to discuss the sport, share highlights, and support their favorite teams.
- Corporate Partnerships and Sponsorships: The involvement of international corporations and sponsors in American football has contributed to its growth. These partnerships have enabled the sport to expand its reach and investment in local markets.
- Cultural Exchange: American football has gained popularity through cultural exchange programs, international sports festivals, and the influence of American expatriates living abroad who maintain their interest in the sport.
American football is no longer facing criticism in Brazil anymore with a lot of Brazilians now showing interest in the game. Just like we said earlier, there are about 4,800 active players, excluding those with youth & women’s levels, flag football teams, and 120 American football teams in Brazil. That’s to tell you that the sport is gaining imminent popularity in the country. We’ve reached the closing chapter of this informative article. We hope you were able to find good resources in your quest to know how popular is American football in Brazil. If you have any questions or comments about the article topic, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks