The NFL looks south—as in the Southern Hemisphere—to move ratings north for the Pro Bowl.
Brazil has become the go-to spot for major sporting events. First the country played host to the World Cup in 2014, then it obtained approval to host the Summer Olympics in 2016, and now the NFL, hoping to prop up the plunging numbers for the Pro Bowl, is hinting it may schedule the 2017 game in Brazil, according to FOXSports.com.
If the game is played in Brazil, it will mark the first time the game has been played outside the U.S. Other cities are being considered, although Houston, the site of the 2017 Super Bowl, is not on the list.
Brazil has evidenced an increasing interest in NFL football, which the league cites as one reason for playing the game in South America. Another motive, according to Fox Sports, is the exotic locale, which the NFL hopes will appeal to players. The 2016 Pro Bowl will be played in the traditional site of Hawaii; the 2015 game was played in Glendale, Ariz., where the Super Bowl was also played this year.
Viewership for the Pro Bowl has decreased the last four years; it drew a 5.6 rating in 2015, the lowest since 2007, although the 8.77 million people watching on ESPN were the biggest audience for a cable program that week.
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil featured twelve different cities as sites for the Games; the only other time Brazil had hosted the event occurred in 1950. The 2016 Olympics are scheduled for Rio de Janeiro between August 5-21; the Paralympic Summer Games are planned for September 7-18. The Rio Committee stated that seventy percent of tickets for the Games will be reserved for residents of Brazil.