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‘If the NFL decide Ireland is next on the list, we’d be thrilled’ – New York Jets deepen green connections




The fast-changing world of the NFL has increasingly made Ireland a part of its plans, with a recent development being the addition of the New York Jets to the list of teams who have marketing rights on our island, writes SHANE BRENNAN.


When words like ‘marketing’ are thrown about, its easy for fans to be confused as to the on-ground experiences that such attention brings. But after a season where the Pittsburgh Steelers held a watch party in Croke Park and the Jacksonville Jaguars brought its JagTag programme – designed to increase youth participation in American football – it is clear that the NFL experience in Ireland will become more authentic as the 2020s continue.


The pinnacle of authenticity comes with the holding of a regular-season game, with the NFL confirming recently that a feasibility study of hosting a match in Ireland begins this summer.


For now, the easiest way for the Irish fan to dive into an NFL game-day experience is to head to London, where the Jets will face the Minnesota Vikings in probably the highest-profile match-up of this year’s European series of games, which also see the Jaguars play twice – first against the Chicago Bears in Tottenham before duelling with a fresh-faced New England Patriots in Wembley.


And the Jets understand the importance of these games when connecting with American football fans here.


“The games are critical. If we think about the NFL as an entertainment product, which it is, and we love delighting the fans, the number one thing we can do is play games,” said John MacCarter, the Vice President of Finance and Analytics at the New York Jets.


“So there's lots of other great activities we can do, and we are doing those things. We're planning those for Ireland too, but to have your team physically, in market playing a game, it’s the most important thing you can do.


“So I think the NFL has done a terrific job of prioritizing those games. Now we have games in Germany, Brazil, with others on the way and being evaluated across Europe and the rest of the world. So when the NFL prioritizes it, that breaks down the barriers for the clubs to play.


“And it's not just that we are playing. When the Premier League comes to the US they're big events … but those are friendlies. This is not a friendly. When we play the Vikings, that will matter. So I think that's something else the NFL has done really well.”


The Jets’ commitment to Ireland, barely two months old, has already shown signs of life, including having former Ireland rugby international Greg O’Shea announce one of their Draft picks from the Guinness Store House, bringing Ireland into the League’s biggest off-season event.


And the team’s colour, often described as ‘Gang Green’ reminds us that New York’s Irish connections are always visible.


“You know, the first owner of the Jets was born on St Patrick's Day. He chose green because of that. So, it is a fortunate thing that we are green. We’ll have some fun with that, but yeah, the cultural connection is absolutely a part of it,” MacCarter added.


So, speculation is building that the Steelers will look to take the NFL to Ireland – could the Jets have similar plans?


“Not to speak on behalf of the NFL, as they run point on the evaluation of the opportunities. And if they decide that Ireland is next on the list, we'd be happy to be considered. We'd be more than happy. We'd be thrilled,” MacCarter said.


THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON THE IRISH INDEPENDENT


To keep updated on the latest New York Jets news and to hear about their upcoming activities, please visit www.newyorkjets.com and www.nyjetsinuk.com. Follow them on social platforms @NYJets and @NYJetsinUK on X and @nyjets and @newyorkjetsinuk on Instagram.

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