Are the Bengals planning to go international? Katie Blackburn explains

The Cincinnati Bengals are exploring the idea of expanding their brand internationally. With the NFL continue to grow in popularity from a global standpoint, several teams have given themselves an international home.

As of right now, the Bengals are one of 11 teams without an international home. The NFL now has 22 teams with international marketing rights in 14 different countries. Cincinnati’s executive vice president Katie Blackburn said the Bengals are looking into if taking their brand internationally is the right fit for the club at the moment.

“We’ve been looking at it,” Blackburn said from NFL meetings. “We have not applied for an international market yet, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been looking at things.”

There’s a lot that goes into picking an international home for an NFL team. The location must make sense from a fan engagement standpoint. When a club joins the NFL’s global markets program, they are awarded rights for at least a five-year term. During this time, the team has the rights to pursue activities in that international market that are largely consistent with what they can do in their home market.

Here are the 14 different markets with NFL teams: Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ghana, Mexico, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

As the NFL looks to continue to expand their international presence, getting as many teams as possible to participate in the global markets program is beneficial. Teams can also have two different international homes, like the Pittsburgh Steelers who claim Mexico and the United Kingdom as their international homes.

What does this mean for the Bengals’ chances to play internationally the next few seasons?The Bengals will be playing internationally in the next few years whether they have an international home or not. In the upcoming season, the only chance for the Bengals to play overseas is if the NFL chooses to send the Bengals to play the Panthers in Germany. Carolina is designated to play in Munich in 2024 and the Panthers are one of Cincinnati’s road opponents.

Cincinnati will find out if they are playing in Munich in May when the schedule is released. If they don’t play in Europe in 2024, they must give up a home game at Paycor Stadium to play internationally in either 2025 of 2027. Each NFL team is guaranteed to play a home game at an international site every eight seasons.

“I think ’25 or ’27 we’ll have an international home game,” Blackburn said. “As the time narrows, your chances go up as being that team one of those years. Unless they bring in more, it should be ’25 or ’27.”

Cincinnati most recently played internationally in 2019 when they traveled across the pond to face the Los Angeles Rams in 2019.

The NFL will play three games in England, one game in Germany and one in Brazil in the upcoming season.

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