Football and the NFL are huge in the United States.
Across the pond in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom, it’s just as big to “vacation” in central Florida, namely in Osceola County.
And now Experience Kissimmee, Osceola County’s tourism marketing arm, has reached an agreement to connect the two.
Last week, EK and the National Football League UK announced a partnership designation Experience Kissimmee as “The Official Destination of the NFL in the UK”.
“The company, the first of its kind, seeks to drive brand awareness and shine a 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 October 28, 2007, when the New York Giants defeated 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 then have drawn over 83,000.
In an attempt to expand the brand’s global appeal outside of the United States, matches were played at England’s largest and most iconic stadiums, including Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which are known for some of football’s greatest stadiums – theirs “Football” – UK games.
The sponsorship begins 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.
Before the pandemic, Experience Kissimmee President/CEO DT Minich said more than 800,000 visitors had come to the area.
“This opportunity will increase our reach with our amazing UK visitors, but will also enable us to connect with key markets in the United States,” he said.
In 2021, the NFL London Games produced a worldwide 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 grown in popularity in the UK over the past five years.
“It’s a great honor to be working with the NFL not only at the London Games but beyond,” said John Poole, executive director of the Kissimmee Sports Commission. “We believe this is a great opportunity to connect with a core UK audience throughout the year. The program is now offered in more than 380 schools in more than 20 UK regions and this will allow us to reach out to multiple markets across the UK.”
This is Experience Kissimmee’s second major sporting sponsorship in the UK. They worked with English Premier League football club West Ham United from 2016 to 2022.