Texas Athletic Director Steve Patterson told Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman he sees value in playing a home football game south of the border. Patterson believes the game would give Texas the opportunity to increase its branding and popularity. His thinking is no different from that of Roger Goodell and David Stern. A global market is out there for the taking.
The move makes sense financially, even if it comes at the expense of a home game. Losing a home game is never ideal, but if a game on foreign soil helps expand the university’s brand, then it may just be worth the ire of Longhorn faithful for that season.
College teams playing a game outside the U.S. is nothing new. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish played a game in Ireland in 2012. In 2014, the Penn State Nittany Lions and UCF Knights open the season in Ireland. Traveling abroad can be a great recruiting tool when you think about the exposure both teams would get.
Why Mexico? The Dallas Cowboys played several preseason games in Mexico City in the 1990s. The 1994 game between Dallas and the Houston Oilers drew 112,376 fans. America’s team quickly became Mexico’s Team. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said he would like to return to Mexico to play a regular season game. The NFL has not been back to Mexico since 2005, but games have been played in London and Toronto the last few years. International expansion is on the NFL’s radar.
Aside from losing a home game, security is another concern for fans. Mexico has a history of violence. This has increased the last few years as drug cartels battle each other for control of the country. Security concerns will have to be addressed. The Spurs and Timberwolves made it to and from Mexico without incident. One can even look at the U.S. Men’s National soccer team and its travels to Mexico. Playing a sport that Mexicans hold dear to their hearts – and in a hostile environment – the U.S. team left the country no worse for wear many times. Texas would not be playing a college from Mexico, so no rivalry would be present.
It is important to remember that Patterson says a game in Mexico is a possibility, not a formality. There is still a lot of work to be done before this game becomes a reality. Texas will need an opponent. The USC Trojans have been mentioned as a possible match because of a home-and-home agreement for the 2017-18 seasons.
Texas fans may not see the value of playing a game in Mexico. Texas officials do. Globalization is here to stay. Businesses take their brand to all corners of the globe.
Why can’t Texas?