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Inclusion of Flag Football in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics: A Strategic Move for NFL’s Global Exposure

by Madison Thomas
8 comments
2028 Olympics Sports Recommendation

After first making headlines with Taylor Swift’s involvement, the NFL has gained further international attention with the announcement that flag football may become part of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games. The proposal, presented on Monday by the event’s organizers, marks an important milestone as the Summer Games will be held in the United States for the first time in over three decades.

Flag football stands in stark contrast to American football—while it remains somewhat niche in the United States, it enjoys widespread popularity in many other parts of the world. According to LA committee chair Casey Wasserman, the newly proposed sports are “contemporary, groundbreaking, and deeply rooted in community engagement, enjoyed in various settings from backyards and schoolyards to community centers, stadiums, and parks, both nationally and internationally.”

Despite a decline in domestic participation numbers, American football continues to be the most-watched sport in the United States. The inclusion of its less hazardous counterpart, flag football, in the Olympics would signify a monumental triumph for the NFL. Over the past decade, the league has held several games in Europe and continuously seeks to extend its reach and viewership beyond Western Europe and the United States. This move aligns with one of the recent major stories in the NFL: pop superstar Taylor Swift attending two Kansas City Chiefs games to support her friend, tight end Travis Kelce.

Dan Durbin, Director of the Institute of Sports, Media and Society at the University of Southern California, commented, “American football is primarily a U.S. phenomenon. Its influence wanes once you venture a short distance from either the Atlantic or Pacific coasts. Including flag football in the Olympic Games provides an opportunity for the sport to gain global visibility.”

In flag football, “tackles” are made by pulling a flag from a belt worn by each player. The game is a 5-on-5 event and is played on a 50-yard field, without the need for offensive and defensive linemen. Last year, the U.S. men’s team clinched the gold medal at the World Games, whereas the women’s team lost to Mexico in the final round.

Conversely, cricket, largely unfamiliar to American audiences, is also proposed for inclusion in the 2028 LA Olympics. This could serve as an enticement for countries where the sport is popular, like Australia—which is set to host the Olympics in 2032—and possibly India, viewed as a prospective future host. “Incorporating cricket offers a sense of diplomatic outreach, expanding the range of sports included,” noted Durbin.

Excluded from the LA program are breakdancing, motorsports, kickboxing, and karate. It remains uncertain whether the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will have to reduce the number of disciplines in other sports to maintain its 10,500-athlete limit for the Summer Games, especially as the inclusion of five new team sports could inflate participant numbers.

How this nascent form of football will be received in 2028, amid a crowded 17-day Olympic schedule, is speculative. The IOC, much like the NFL, is diligently targeting younger audiences. Recent additions like skateboarding, climbing, and 3-on-3 basketball seem to be part of this strategy. Bettina Cornwell, a sports business expert at the University of Oregon, believes that the introduction of a less perilous form of football could indeed prove advantageous for the NFL. “Although some ardent NFL fans may resist this change, the safety concerns associated with American football are an increasing point of discussion. If there’s an initiative that could alter this narrative, the inclusion of flag football in the Olympics may very well be it,” Cornwell said.


For more information, visit AP Olympics: 2024 Paris Olympic Games

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about 2028 Los Angeles Olympics Flag Football

What is the significance of including flag football in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics?

The inclusion of flag football in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics is considered a strategic move to globalize the sport and extend the NFL’s reach. It’s also an attempt to attract younger audiences to the Olympic Games. The event marks the return of the Summer Olympics to the United States for the first time in over 30 years.

How does flag football differ from traditional American football?

Flag football is a less hazardous version of American football. In flag football, “tackles” are made by pulling a flag from a belt worn by each player, instead of physical tackles. The game is played 5-on-5 on a 50-yard field and does not involve offensive and defensive linemen.

Why is the inclusion of cricket noteworthy?

Cricket is largely unfamiliar to American audiences but is immensely popular in other parts of the world. Its inclusion serves as a diplomatic move, potentially attracting countries where cricket is popular, such as Australia and India, to engage more deeply with the Olympic Games.

Who are the key stakeholders commenting on this development?

Dan Durbin, Director of the Institute of Sports, Media and Society at the University of Southern California, and Bettina Cornwell, a sports business expert at the University of Oregon, have provided insights into the significance and potential impact of these changes.

Are any sports being excluded from the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics program?

Yes, breakdancing, motorsports, kickboxing, and karate have been excluded from the program for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

How might this affect the overall number of athletes participating in the Summer Olympics?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has set a limit of 10,500 athletes for the Summer Olympics. The inclusion of flag football and other team sports could inflate the number of participants, although it’s unclear how this will be managed.

What is the stance of experts on the inclusion of flag football?

Experts like Bettina Cornwell believe that flag football’s inclusion could be advantageous for the NFL, especially given increasing safety concerns associated with American football. It could potentially alter the narrative around the sport and attract a broader, younger audience.

How are the Olympics and the NFL both trying to appeal to younger audiences?

Both organizations are actively including sports that are popular among younger audiences. In recent years, the IOC has added sports like skateboarding, climbing, and 3-on-3 basketball. Similarly, the NFL is hoping that the inclusion of flag football will attract younger viewers.

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8 comments

JohnSmith88 October 9, 2023 - 11:38 pm

Wow, flag football in the olympics? Thats kinda cool but also feels weird. Guess it’s all bout globalizing the sport.

Reply
TimInFinance October 9, 2023 - 11:49 pm

If the NFL can make flag football popular globally, thats gonna be huge for the sport’s finances. More viewers, more ads, more money.

Reply
PoliticalThinker October 10, 2023 - 5:47 am

Inclusion of cricket for diplomatic reasons sounds like a smart move. Maybe theyre eyeing India as a future host?

Reply
Melissa_R October 10, 2023 - 7:01 am

Inclusion of flag football? seriously? What about more traditional olympic sports. Seems like a move for $$$, not for the spirit of the games.

Reply
CarlaMomsBlog October 10, 2023 - 11:03 am

Less hazardous sports are always a win in my book. At least parents won’t have to worry so much bout injuries.

Reply
RachelG October 10, 2023 - 11:45 am

As someone who’s played flag football, its actually a fun sport. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!

Reply
SoccerFan101 October 10, 2023 - 5:06 pm

Never thought I’d see the day when football shares the Olympic stage with cricket. Worlds are colliding, lol.

Reply
CryptoGuy22 October 10, 2023 - 7:54 pm

Just wondering how they’re gonna manage the number of athletes. IOC has set limits, right? Seems like a logistical nightmare.

Reply

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