This past Monday night, the San Francisco 49ers faced off against the Arizona Cardinals in the first regular season NFL game played outside of the United States. News reports will tell you that there were 103,467 fans in attendance at Azteca Stadium... a record for NFL game attendance.
One might inquire why then, will the NFL not consider placing a football team in Mexico City? If a team is going to generate over 100,000 fans per game, wouldn't the NFL want that kind of revenue?
My question isn't why there isn't a plan for an NFL team in Mexico City. My question is, how many of those fans acctually paid to attend the game? A sell-out is defined in the stadium events world as all tickets for any given event are distributed. So, how many fans at the game were there as part of a group discount plan? How many fans were there on complimentary passes from a radio or TV promotion? How many fans were family and friends of players, who flew them down for the game in seats reserved for them?
My point is, professional sports teams do this a lot to generate interest for the product. No one wants to go to a sporting event that isn't popular. So, if we create a "buzz" for the event, future events will sell ... for a while. Even if the NFL were to continue holding random games in Mexico, and give away lets say 40% of the house seats to generate interest, there is no guarantee that once promotions were scaled back that the seats would be made up for in sales. If the NFL is seriously considering placing a team in Mexico, it needs to look at its comp & discounted pass/purchased seat ratio. That will tell you the true number of "real" interest in the region.