Backed by a global following of nearly 10 million fans, the San Francisco 49ers received confirmation today that their compelling marketing, fan engagement, and commercial proposals for Mexico and the United Kingdom were approved by the National Football League (NFL), beginning in 2022. With established connections to both markets, the 49ers are proud to be one of just six teams to earn access to activate in two new overseas markets as part of the NFL's initial activation of its International Home Marketing Areas (IHMA) program, as ratified today by the NFL's International Committee.
"As long-time members of the NFL's international committee, the 49ers know there's never been a better time to invest in markets like Mexico and the UK and we're honored to be entrusted with these rights by the NFL," said Al Guido, 49ers President. "The firsthand perspective we've gained from playing internationally in both countries and our ongoing investment in Leeds United provides our organization with a strong appreciation for these markets.
"We thank Elevate Sports Ventures and Wasserman for their strategic support on this initiative and look forward to employing unique strategies and compelling content to directly engage new members of the Faithful and corporate partners throughout Mexico and the UK."
Fans looking to engage with the 49ers right now, especially those in Mexico and the UK, can do so through the club's wide array of existing content channels. They encourage fans in Mexico and the UK to follow @49ers on Twitter and Instagram, @SanFrancisco49ers on Facebook, download the 49ers App from the Apple App Store or Google Play, and visit 49ers.com for daily content updates. Fans who prefer content in Spanish can also follow us @49ersESP on Twitter and visit 49ers En Español on 49ers.com and YouTube. Fans in Mexico, the UK, and around the world are also encouraged to join the new 49ers Supporters Club to receive curated team merchandise, content, and unique experiences exclusively for members.
"The 49ers have been an innovative and inclusive organization on and off the field throughout our 75-year history, putting our brand in a favorable position to maximize fan growth and engagement in both Mexico and in the UK," said Alex Chang, 49ers Chief Marketing Officer. "With solid existing fan bases in both countries that rank in the top quartile of all NFL teams, we are excited about the opportunity to actively grow the Faithful globally. Our goal is to enable fans to be 'Faithful to The Bay' no matter where they live or where they're from. The International HMA program will allow us to do just that."
For Spanish-speaking fans, the 49ers began laying the foundation three years ago with the launch of the team's comprehensive Spanish-language content strategy featuring live game broadcasts and daily coverage on 49ers.com, an initiative that will expand with the activation of the team's new IHMA rights in Mexico. Beginning in 2018, the team has produced live Spanish radio broadcasts for every 49ers game. The current broadcast team features Jesus Zarate on play-by-play and Telemundo's Carlos Yustis as color commentator. The duo also hosts the club's weekly "Los 49ers" studio show, bringing fans the latest news and information around the team in Spanish. Original Spanish articles and content are also produced for 49ers.com and Twitter. In terms of community engagement, the 49ers Foundation has translated much of its direct programming through 49ers EDU and 49ers PREP into Spanish. 49ers PREP partnered with NFL Mexico to offer a Spanish version of their on-demand, four-week virtual flag football camp, while 49ers EDU translated their Digital Playbook into Spanish so a new population of students could learn STEAM concepts through the game of football.
"Continuing our long-term organizational focus on diversifying our local market revenue streams to rank among the leaders in the NFL, we are excited to put our proven partnership strategies and activations to work in Mexico and the UK for current and new partners," said Brent Schoeb, 49ers Chief Revenue Officer. "We have multi-year plans for commercial development in these markets and look forward to bringing customizable partnership packages to brands in Mexico and the UK."
With today's announcement, the 49ers look forward to extending its marketing programs, corporate partnerships, and award-winning community programs such as 49ers EDU and 49ers PREP to Mexico and the UK for a term of at least five years beginning on January 1, 2022. While the 49ers look forward to releasing more detailed plans in the new year, fans in Mexico and the UK can expect the team's activations to also include country-specific digital and social content, fan events, retail promotions, and more.
Between Mexico and the UK, the 49ers have played a total of three international regular season games in team history with a record of 2-1. The 49ers played the NFL's first regular season game outside the United States in 2005 in front of a record 103,467 fans at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, a 31-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers have twice played in London at Wembley Stadium and won both games, 24-16 over the Denver Broncos in 2010 and 42-10 over the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013.
The NFL's new IHMA program includes a commitment to play more International Games, ensuring all 32 clubs will play at least one international game in the next eight seasons. While the NFL intends to allocate clubs to play internationally in their IHMAs, clubs are not precluded from playing in other priority international markets such as Canada and Germany. Additionally, clubs are permitted to submit future market proposals for review by the NFL International Committee annually each spring beginning in 2023.