NFL FLAG, the official flag football program of the National Football League, is expanding its footprint north of the border, announcing the launch of NFL FLAG Canada and NFL FLAG Canada Regional Tournaments on Thursday.
NFL FLAG’s mission is to empower youth athletes ages 4 to 17 and instill a lifelong passion for flag football through leagues that are engaging, fun, and accessible for everyone. The leagues provide a structured opportunity for kids to discover the importance of sportsmanship, teamwork, and friendship, both on and off the field.
“The launch of NFL FLAG Canada is an example of our continued commitment to growing the game, strengthening interest and increasing participation in football among Canadians,” said David Thomson, managing director of NFL Canada. “We are pleased to officially recognize and support NFL FLAG leagues across Canada and look forward to creating more opportunities for local youth athletes and NFL fans to enjoy the game of flag football.”
Over the next three years, NFL FLAG expects to have 250 NFL FLAG leagues operating and more than 100,000 youth flag football athletes participating in NFL FLAG Canada.
“Flag football is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, with regular participation of more than three million youth and adults each year,” said NFL FLAG executive director Izell Reese. “We’re excited to bring NFL FLAG to Canada’s loyal football fanbase and provide opportunities for young fans to learn the fundamentals of the game and experience the excitement of flag football.”
NFL FLAG will work closely with clubs that have been granted NFL international home marketing areas in Canada, including the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings, to drive fan growth and participation internationally.
The inaugural NFL FLAG Canada Regional Tournaments will take place in four provinces across Canada including Vancouver, BC, Regina, Saskatchewan, Halifax, Nova Scotia and Toronto, Ontario between June and July 2022.
NFL FLAG Canada Regional Tournaments join the 16 US-based NFL FLAG Regional Tournaments as part of the 2022 NFL FLAG Tournament Series. Non-NFL FLAG teams are invited to compete in the NFL FLAG Canada Regional Tournaments.
Winning teams from the NFL FLAG Canada Regional Tournaments will qualify to compete in the NFL FLAG Championships at the NFL Pro Bowl presented by Subway in February 2023.
NFL FLAG Canada marks an important step in the NFL’s international plan, which aims to grow NFL FLAG globally over the next five years.
The NFL will continue its international expansion by sponsoring the debut of flag football at the 2022 World Games this July in Birmingham, Alabama.
“NFL FLAG has played an important role in helping the NFL attract a whole new generation of fans and expand our business internationally,” said Damani Leech, NFL chief operating officer international. “The introduction of flag football at the 2022 World Games and launch of NFL FLAG Canada demonstrates the growing global interest in the game of football and ongoing efforts across the global football community to include flag football in the 2028 Olympic Games.”
NFL FLAG currently includes more than 1,600 locally operated leagues in the U.S. and over 500,000 youth athletes across all 50 states. NFL FLAG is the only flag football league where players wear officially-licensed NFL gear.