Football, and the NFL, is huge in the United States.
Across the pond in Europe, specifically the United Kingdom, taking “holiday” in Central Florida, namely in Osceola County, is equally as huge.
And now Experience Kissimmee, the tourism marketing arm for Osceola County, has struck a deal to link the two.
Last week, EK and the National Football League UK announced a partnership naming Experience Kissimmee as, ‘The official Travel Destination of the NFL in the UK.”
“The venture, the first of its kind, aspires to promote brand awareness and shine the spotlight on this popular Central Florida destination,” the tourism marketers said in a statement.
The NFL has been playing regular-season games in London since Oct. 28 2007, when the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins, 13-10, in front of over 81,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. The NFL began playing multiple games there in 2013, and all but one of the 22 games since have drawn over 83,000.
In an attempt to broaden the global appeal of the brand outside the United States, the games have been played in the biggest and most iconic stadiums England has to offer, including Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, known for some of the biggest soccer – their ‘football’ – matches in the United Kingdom.
The sponsorship will kick off with this season’s NFL London Games. They feature the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints (Oct. 2) and the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers (Oct. 9) at Wembley Stadium, and the Denver Broncos vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (Oct. 30) at Tottenham Hotspur.
Prior to the pandemic, Experience Kissimmee President/CEO D.T. Minich said more than 800,000 visitors came to the area.
“This opportunity will further our reach with our great visitors from the UK but will also enable us to connect with key markets across the United States,” he said.
In 2021, the NFL London Games produced a global viewership of more than seven million viewers.
As part of the agreement, Experience Kissimmee will also support the NFL UK Flag Football program, a non-contact version of American Football that has been gaining popularity in the UK over the past five years.
“It is a great honor to work with the NFL not only with the London Games, but also beyond,” said John Poole, Executive Director of Kissimmee Sports Commission. “We believe this is a great opportunity to receive year-round exposure to a core target audience in the UK. The program is now in more than 380 schools across 20-plus UK regions, and this will allow us to connect with multiple markets across the UK.”
This is the second major sports sponsorship that Experience Kissimmee has had in the UK. They partnered with English Premier League soccer club West Ham United from 2016-2022.