Looking to extend its marketing effort as other sports have, the NFL is mulling the idea of its players participating in the Los Angeles 2028 Summer Olympics -- during a flag football competition.
Flag football will be a new sport starting up in 2028.
NBA players, by comparison, have already played on teams in the Summer Olympics for over 30 years -- helping to promote its sport.
Earlier on, U.S.-based NBA players dominated the event. But in recent years, the U.S. Olympic basketball team has found itself in a much more competitive situation against many other countries.
That has meant higher TV viewership.
A number of established basketball leagues and teams can be found globally -- much more than for American football. The NBA -- as well as Major League Baseball -- are perhaps the most active U.S. sports globally.
For the Winter Olympics, hockey has been a long-time sport. The NHL did allow its players participation from 1998-2014. It stopped its participation due to the timing of the games, which conflicts with its regular season.
The NFL now has its teams playing regular-season games in London.
While far behind, one source says some 40 countries -- including Australia, Brazil, Denmark, India, Russia, South Korea, and Russia, have American football competitions, including flag football.
Initially, the NFL would look to gain more at home from its Olympics experience. In the U.S., this would mean on NBCUniversal networks with the NFL benefitting from the diverse Olympic TV audiences -- which includes more female viewers than many other established U.S.-aired TV sports programming.
All this follows up on reports that the NFL is considering an overseas location for the Super Bowl in the coming years, the biggest annual U.S. televised program.
The Olympics continue to expand -- for basketball.
A new competition -- three-on-three half-court competition -- started up in the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2021 and will run up again next summer during the Paris Olympics. NBA players are not allowed to compete currently. But that could change.
Baseball has been a Summer Olympics sport -- but off and on since 1992. Even then big Major League Baseball players didn’t participate. But for the Tokyo Olympics it made a dramatic comeback -- mostly due to Japan’s major interest in the sport over many decades.
The NFL ultimately would like to perhaps see its sport get to this level, which the NBA and Major League Baseball now have reached.
But for the near term, the full-on tackling and blocking piece will have to wait.
Good news: With no helmets needed for flag football everyone will get a better look at the players.