Cleveland Browns Excluded From New NFL Program

Getty Nick Chubb #24 of the Cleveland Browns scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers

The Cleveland Browns have been left out of the NFL’s new global markets program expansion that the league announced on Tuesday, May 23. In fact, most of the AFC North is excluded.

Here’s what you need to know:

The NFL Global Markets Program Added 2 Teams in Year 2

Per the NFL’s press release, the league has announced the expansion of the global markets program with two new teams — the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints — bringing the total number of teams that are participating up to 21. The program also added four new international markets in France, Austria, Switzerland and the Republic of Ireland.

Highlights from the press release include:

FRANCE: The New Orleans Saints have been granted international marketing rights in France – the first NFL club to select and be awarded the French market – in what is also their first entry into the Global Markets Program.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND: The Pittsburgh Steelers have been awarded international marketing rights in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to complement their rights in Mexico, which they received last year. Also granted rights in the Republic of Ireland are the Jacksonville Jaguars, who will expand their international rights beyond the UK for the first time.

GERMANY: The Atlanta Falcons became the fifth club to be granted international marketing rights in Germany – in what is the club’s first entry into the program. Three of the original clubs with rights in Germany – the Kansas City Chiefs, the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – were granted rights in April to expand their presence beyond Germany to include Austria and Switzerland as part of the DACH region.

The NFL teams are chosen to participate based on an application process whereby they submit proposals to the International Committee to review each spring. Those chosen are awarded rights for at least five years.

“We are thrilled to see the shared ambition of our teams in growing the NFL around the world, and this expansion demonstrates not only the momentum of the Global Markets Program as we head into year two, but the value the participating clubs are already seeing from this important initiative,” said the NFL’s executive vice president of club business, major events and international Peter O’Reilly in a statement. “We know that global fandom is accelerated through direct engagement with our clubs and players, and we are excited to see the continued impact of this program to reach and engage more fans and grow our sport at every level globally.”

Steelers Fans Are Crowing About Being the Only AFC North Team

On Twitter, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan wrote that “it would appear that the Steelers have global dominance in the AFC North.” When someone replied by pointing out that the Steelers “only have two” markets, the original commenter wrote, “Which is two more than the Ravens, Bengals and Browns combined.”

One Cleveland fan joked that the Browns get North Korea, and others are saying the Browns are already an international team because Browns Backers Worldwide has over 300 chapters around the globe, including at least one in all 50 states and 14 other countries, according to the website. The 14 countries include Canada, England, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Israel, New Zealand and Australia.

“Browns already have the largest organized fanbase in the NFL. That’s why they aren’t on here,” wrote one fan</a.

Another fan quipped, “Cleveland is like: ‘Naw, we good.'”

“Only people who are born in Cleveland and have suffered the hysteria that is the @Browns are allowed to be fans of The Cleveland @Browns. I don’t make the rules, @NFL does,” a second fan joked.

A third fan wrote, “No Browns??? Confirmed we are going to the Super Bowl.”

“@Browns apparently just fine with the way the Ohio fan base is going smh,” wrote a fourth fan.

A fifth fan is “proud” that the Browns are not included because they say the NFL “is for the good old US of A.”

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