Updated November 13, 2023
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Cities That Should Have an NFL Team

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There has been speculation floating around that there's an upcoming NFL expansion. Although not everyone might agree to the idea of the NFL expansion, it does make you wonder, which cities should fill the slots? 

Big cities such as Miami and New York have their own NFL teams. But, plenty of other cities also deserve their very own football teams. 

If you wonder which cities these are, you have come to the right page. In this article, we have shortlisted the top cities that deserve their own NFL teams with detailed explanations. 

Related: Navigate the NFL season's twists and turns with our NFL Predictions.

Criteria of Cities that Should Have an NFL

There are two main ways for a city to have its own NFL team. 

First, if an already existing franchise chooses to move to another city. Usually, the team and city come up with an agreement. They then present the plans with the other teams in the league in hopes of it getting approved. Once it pushes through, they can then relocate to another city, but this rarely happens. 

The other way of a city getting its own team is when there is a franchise expansion. The NFL will solicit bids with investors who have to submit plans to the NFL. The plan must have detailed information about their deal with the city and show that they have sufficient funding. The other team in the league will then come to a vote on whether to push through with the expansion or not. However, this has not happened since the early 2000s. 

Regardless of whether it's method number 1 or 2, not all cities can accommodate an NFL team. With this in mind, these are some of the criteria of cities that can: 

  • Stadium

The biggest reason many cities cannot have an NFL team is the lack of playable stadiums. A city that has an NFL team must have a stadium where the team can both practice and play games. If they don't, they must be willing to construct one that is according to the standards of the NFL. However, new football stadiums are quite expensive to build.  

  • Money

One of the most important prerequisites that a city should have is owning an NFL team: money or investors. Sure, having its own NFL team is great, but plenty of expenses come along with it. 

  • Fan Base

Are there plenty of football fans in the city? This is another question that has to be answered with a yes. An already existing fan base will help ensure that the game tickets will be sold. At the same time, it's important for the morale of the team to have support moving forward. 

Suppose there's a local college team in the city. In that case, the fan base can be measured depending on the amount of support they get from local residents. If they don't have a local college football team, the residents must support other sports like basketball. 

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Largest cities without an NFL Team

You now know more about how relocating and expanding NFL teams works to a new city. With this in mind, here are some of the cities that tick the checks for the prerequisites. 

Tokyo, Japan

Sure, winning the super bowl is a huge privilege. However, players and teams cannot really say that they are world champions because competing teams are exclusively cities in the United States. This is why expanding to Tokyo might be a good idea. But, why exactly in Tokyo? 

Expanding to Tokyo will help bring more Asian football fans together. It's also a good place to start because Rugby already has an existing fan base, which is quite similar to American football. 

Besides the potential fanbase, Tokyo is also home to several stadiums that could host games. Plus, with the recent Olympics, the city has new sports facilities all throughout the city.

Final Thoughts on Tokyo

Tokyo has over 13 million people. The sheer number of people and the already existing interest in similar games like Rugby will help ensure that game tickets will be sold. This alone is a good reason why they should be given their own team. But, beyond that, it's a good opportunity to enter the Asian market, which is saturated with basketball, football, and volleyball teams. 

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However, since it's in Asia, the time difference might be a big issue. Scheduling games with other teams will be very challenging, especially at the beginning. 

What to Do in Tokyo? 

If Tokyo does get its own NFL team, fans can include the following activities to their itinerary: 

  1. Visit the Asakusa Temples
  2. Taste fresh seafood at the Tsukiji Market
  3. Go up the Skytree
  4. Try the unique restaurants in the city, such as the Owl Cafe in Akihabara

Salt Lake City, Utah

In 2002, Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics. This means that they would definitely have the capacity to support their very own football team. 

In addition, this city is considerably larger in land mass and population than Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Jacksonville, which have their own NFL teams. 

On top of that, there's a solid football fan base in the area because Utahns adore their college football team. That amount of support alone would boost the morale of any football team that would have the honor to call Salt Lake City it's home. 

Final Thoughts on Salt Lake CIty

The city has the same geographical advantage as Boise. However, it exceeds in other aspects such as the market size, which is why it's a city that deserves its own NFL team. 

What to Do in Salt Lake City?

Suppose Salt Lake City gets its own NFL team. You can do some of these activities after watching a thrilling match at the home stadium: 

  1. Take photos at temple square
  2. Visit the Natural Museum of Utah
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Mexico City

Mexico City has a population of over nine million people. Many of these individuals are huge fans of the NFL. For this reason alone, they should give the city its own team.

In addition, the city also has several stadiums where the games can be hosted. For example, there's the gigantic and historic Estadio Azteca, where games can be played. Given the large fan base of football in the area, it's a guarantee that tickets will be sold out. 

Final Thoughts on Mexico City

It's actually quite surprising Mexico City doesn’t have an NFL team yet. It has a large population and a strong football fan base. There are already existing facilities in the city where games could be hosted. 

What to Do in Mexico City?

Other than watching an NFL game in Mexico City once they get their own franchise, you can also experience the following activities: 

  1. Visit the Museo Nacional de Antropología en Chapultepec Castle
  2. Taste delicious local dishes

Toronto, Canada

Toronto serves as a border between the US and Canada. Because of this, it's understandable why there are plenty of NFL fans in the area. Besides its close proximity to the US, the city also occasionally hosts Buffalo Bills games. 

Giving Toronto its own NFL team is a great idea from a business perspective. There are plenty of fans of the sport in the city. It is also close to the United States. On top of that, the city is known for being sportive with the sports leagues in their vicinity. 

Final Thoughts on Toronto

The presence of the Canadian Football League might make things a bit tricky when it comes to giving Toronto its own NFL team. However, Toronto tried getting the Buffalo Bills to their city during the early 2000s. Although that bid fell apart because the Bills were sold to Pengulas, a lot has changed already. It's only a matter of time for the deal to be revisited or a new one presents itself. 

What to Do in Toronto?

While you are in Toronto watching its home NFL team, you can also try doing these things:

  1. Visit the Royal Ontario Museum
  2. Take a day tour at the Art Gallery of Ontario
  3. Check out the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada

San Antonio, Texas

You might be wondering why give San Antoniowhen the state already has two cities with teams. But, the reason why they should get one is exactly because it is in Texas. 

The state is home to a large number of avid football fans. Having just two cities with their own team is not enough. 

The reason why it should be San Antonio and not any other Texan city is that it's the 10th largest city in the United States. This means that there are enough people there to support an NFL team. 

On top of that, that is also where the Alamodome, which has a 65,000 capacity, is located. Their NFL team won't have to wait for years to get the facilities that they need. 

Final Thoughts on San Antonio, Texas

When you think about the requirements of a city having its own team, San Antonio checks several boxes. It has a solid football fan base, and the city is rich enough to afford the buy-in and maintain a team. It also already has an existing place where the team can play its home game. 

What to Do in San Antonio?

Suppose San Antonio does get its own NFL team. In that case, you can also do these things while in the city to watch the games: 

  1. Visit San Antonio Riverwalk
  2. Explore The Alamo

Oakland, California

Oakland has an interesting history when it comes to NFL football teams. It used to be the home of the Raiders. However, they moved to  greener pastures in Los Angeles in 1980. After just 12 seasons, they moved back to Oakland. But, they did not stay there for good since they recently moved to Las Vegas, leaving Oakland teamless.

Final Thoughts on Oakland

Football fans in Oakland deserve their own team again before the NFL fully vacates the bay area. The city is full of wealth and football passion, so it would be a crime not to give them their own team again.

But, hey? Maybe the Raiders will go back to Oakland again one day. Then again, that's less likely to happen anytime soon since they are thriving in Vegas. 

What to Do in Oakland?

Here are some fun activities that Oakland has to offer: 

  1. Explore the Tilden Regional Park
  2. Take a day trip to Oakland Zoo
  3. Visit Angel Island

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San Diego, California

San Diego is home to more than 1.4 million residents. It is also the eighth-biggest city in the United States. On top of that, it has a strong fanbase for football thanks to being the home of the Chargers. For all these reasons, it's a no-brainer that the city deserves its own NFL team after all these years. 

Final Thoughts on San Diego

Located on the Pacific coast, San Diego has the perfect weather to house a footbal franchise. Besides that, with the recent move of the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas, California is becoming underrepresented in the NFL. There's no other better city that will fix that problem other than San Diego, mainly because it's one of the richest markets in the United States. 

What to Do in San Diego?

While visiting San Diego to watch an NFL game, you could also;

  1. Take a day trip to the San Diego Zoo
  2. Explore Balboa Park
  3. Have fun at SeaWorld San Diego
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Honolulu, Hawaii

Imagine the Super Bowl played in Honolulu. The sun and the tropical setting will definitely attract fans worldwide to watch the event. This is why it makes perfect sense that this city should have its own NFL team. 

Final Thoughts on Honolulu

Although Hawaii does not have as much population compared to the other cities on this list, it is a wealthy city. It can totally afford to super its very own NFL team. On top of that, the weather is perfect for both playing and watching football which will surely attract attention. 

In addition, bringing an NFL team will make the city more than just a tourist spot. It's also an opportunity to generate more business for the local residents. 

What to Do in Honolulu?

Here are the top things you could do when visiting Hawaii for an NFL game: 

  1. Enjoy Hanauma Bay
  2. Visit Diamond Head
  3. Go on a tour at Pearl Harbor

Portland, Oregon

There is no denying that Portland has a national football fanbase. This is why it's quite surprising that the city does not have its own NFL franchise. Then again, it lacks population compared to the other cities on this list. 

However, Portland deserves its own team because it is the 25th highest TV market. It has a higher TV market compared to other cities with NFL teams such as Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Baltimore. 

Final Thoughts on Portland

Portland has the two main criteria of why a city deserves its own NFL franchise; a strong football fanbase and a sound market. However, the biggest obstacle to achieving their own franchise would be funding a new stadium. But, if they ever figure that out, Portland would definitely be a thriving NFL city. 

What to Do in Portland?

Here are some of the top activities you can do while staying in Portland for a couple of days:

  1. Relax at the Portland Japanese Garden
  2. Visit the International Rose Test Garden
  3. Explore the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis has historically shown tremendous support of the NFL franchise in the past. However, it has been heartbroken twice due to the departure of the team, so they are definitely at the top of the list of cities that deserve their own franchise. On top of that, given that the city already hosted NFL teams in the past, it already has a ready-to-use stadium. 

Final Thoughts on St. Louis

St. Louis fans have a bad reputation for being "know-it-all" fans. However, that only goes to show how passionate they are in supporting their teams. Plus, given the fact that they were already heartbroken twice because of team departure, they will surely hold onto the third one tightly.

What to do in St. Louis?

Here are some fun activities that you can try in St. Louis:

  1. Visit the City Museum
  2. Explore the Missouri Botanical Garden
  3. Go to the Gateway Arch National Park


Here's another international expansion option. With a history of the NFL being played there in the past, the city definitely can host games. In fact, it already has an unofficial home team: the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have been playing "home" games at the Wembley stadium for six seasons. 

Besides having the capacity to host an NFL team, its close time difference with the US makes it an ideal city because the schedule won't be that difficult. 

Final Thoughts on London

Sure, London has plenty of venues that can host NFL games, and there are plenty of crazy sports fans in the densely populated city. However, most of those fans live and breathe football, not the NFL kind of football but the Messi and Ronaldo football. This means that getting fans to pay attention to American football might take some effort and time before it becomes relatively popular. 

What to Do in London?

Here are some of the activities that you shouldn't miss out on while in London:

  1. Visit the British Museum
  2. Take a tour at the Natural History Museum
  3. Take a photo at the Buckingham Palace

Columbus, Ohio

Columbus has the largest population among the cities in Ohio. In fact, its population is a total of both Cincinnati and Cleveland combined. This means that there's a huge market in the city. 

At the same time, the residents are very supportive of the Ohio State Buckeyes. This means that the sport has a solid fan base that can help sustain it for a long time. 

Final Thoughts on Columbus

Columbus has most of the criteria of a city that deserves its own team. It has a huge market. There are plenty of football fans. Most of all, the city has stadiums where games can be held. With all these reasons, it's a no-brainer why it deserves its own NFL team. 

What to do in Columbus?

Some of the fun activities that Columbus has to offer include: 

  1. Food trip at the North Market Downtown
  2. Sightseeing at the Franklin Park Conservatory
  3. A fun day at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
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Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk, VA, is home to more than 233,000 residents. It also boasts several stadiums such as the S.B Ballard Stadium, William "Dick" Price Stadium, and the Atlantic Bay Football Complex. 

Final Thoughts on Norfolk

Sure, Norfolk might not be the largest in terms of market size. But, its population still compares with Buffalo, which has its own NFL team, so it's not entirely impossible. Besides, it does have its very own stadium with a stunning view of the Atlantic ocean. Who wouldn't want to watch or play a game there?

What to Do in Norfolk?

Suppose you find yourself visiting Norfolk. In that case, here are some of the things that you can do: 

  1. Take a look around the Chrysler Museum or the Norfolk Botanical Garden
  2. Take a day tour at Virginia Zoo
  3. Tour the Nauticus Maritime Center and Battleship Wisconsin

Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha has tremendous support for the Cornhuskers. This means that there's a high chance that they will be equally supportive with their very own pro team. 

Besides that, it is one of the most populated cities in the US. Its population is more than 454,000, which rivals Cleveland, so there's a decent size market in the area. 

Final Thoughts on Omaha

Sure, Omaha has the fan base and the market size for the NFL. However, it might fall short in terms of the stadium. Unless the city is willing to spend for it or find an investor who does, the city's chance of getting its own team is low. But, then again, we never know what the future holds. 

What to Do in Omaha?

Suppose Omaha does get its own NFL team. In that case, fans can also enjoy the following attractions and activities when they are in the city for a match:

  1. Explore Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
  2. Check out the Joslyn Art Museum
  3. Take a Look around the Durham Museum

El Paso, Texas

El Paso is on this list for similar reasons as other Texas states. It has a population of over 670.000 residents. There is also denying the people's love for football. 

Final Thoughts on El Paso

From a business standpoint, El Paso can be a profitable city because of its large potential market. Besides that, it is also near other major cities, so the market is actually bigger than you think. 

What to Do in El Paso?

Here are some of the fun activities that you can try while in El Paso:

  1. Explore the El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens
  2. Take a walk around the El Paso Museum
  3. Explore the Franklin Mountains State Park

Austin, Texas

Another Texas city that is worth considering for a relocation or expansion is Austin. In fact, it's quite surprising why it does not have its pro sports franchise, given the fact that it is the capital of Texas and its home to thousands of die-hard football fans. 

Final Thoughts on Austin

The fact that it is the Capital of Texas means that it's a pretty large market. In addition to that, it already has a downtown football stadium, and the city is vibrant and fun.

What to Do in Austin?

If you are in Austin for the weekend, these are some of the sights that you might want to check out: 

  1. Zilker Park
  2. Blanton Museum
  3. Texas Capital

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis has an NBA franchise in the Grizzlies. At the same time, it is also home to a semi-major college football team. This means that there is already a solid fan base in the area. Plus, there's a reasonably sized potential market with its large population. 

Final Thoughts on Memphis

Memphis's love for football is undeniable. On top of that, it's a pretty good city for an NFL team because of its rich history and culture. 

What to Do in Memphis?

These are some of the exciting attractions that you can visit while in Memphis:

  1. Beale Street
  2. National Civil Rights Museum
  3. Sun Studio

Monterrey, Mexico

If the NFL is thinking of expanding to Mexico, another city that is worth considering is Monterrey. It has a strategic location that is only 500 miles away from the American border. Its high elevation also makes it strategic for NFL team training.

Besides that, the population of Monterrey is over one million. This means that it has a pretty large market. 

Final Thoughts on Monterrey

Although the location of Monterrey is pretty strategic, there's no clear indication that the people there are big American football fans. There's also a question regarding its stadium capacities. However, knowing that it has a large market size is enough to consider it as a good expansion outside the US.

What to Do in Monterrey?

Here are the top sights in Monterrey that you should not miss:

  1. Fundidora Park
  2. Mexican History Museum
  3. Paseo Santa Lucia

Frankfurt, Germany

Here's another international expansion that is worth considering. Frankfurt has a population of over 770,000. It is also only 100 miles away from Cologne, giving the city a bigger potential market. 

Aside from that, although Frankfurt is known to be a huge soccer city, it has a long-standing football culture that can be traced all the way back to the World League of American Football from the 1990s. 

Final Thoughts on Frankfurt

If London has its own NFL team, a European rival would be good. There's no better option than Frankfurt, which is only 500 miles away, so the logistics won't be that challenging. It is also very close to Cologne and already has several stadiums that can be used for matches. 

What to Do in Frankfurt? 

If you find yourself in Frankfurt for an NFL match in the future, you can also enjoy the following activities and attractions that the city has to offer:

  1. Explore Museumsufer, Goethe House and Museum, and many more
  2. Take pictures at Romerberg
  3. Walk around Palmengarten

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is another potential European expansion. It is home to over 1.6 million residents, which means that it has a very large market size. It's also nearby other major cities and is accessible through land travel. 

In addition, the city also has large capacity stadiums where their teams can proudly play. 

Final Thoughts on Barcelona

Yes, Barcelona is a huge soccer city, but it also has an NFL pedigree, so there's already an established fan base of the sport. Besides, looking at how they support Barca, there's a high chance that the sport might earn a couple of hundred die-hard fans. 

What to Do in Barcelona?

Here are some fun activities that you can try or places to visit while in Barcelona:

  1. La Sagrada Familia
  2. Park Guell
  3. Casa Mila
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