The 2028 Los Angeles Olympics has proposed adding flag football to the Summer Games program, marking the first U.S. Olympics in 32 years.
This week, the International Olympic Committee will consider the proposal in Mumbai, India. In addition to flag football, the proposal includes sports like baseball, softball, lacrosse, squash, and cricket.
According to LA chairman Casey Wasserman, the new sports are “relevant, innovative and community-based, played in backyards, schoolyards, community centers, stadiums and parks across the U.S. and the globe.”
Incorporating flag football into the Olympics would be a major victory for the NFL, as it aims to expand its global audience. Despite declining participation, football remains immensely popular as a spectator sport in the U.S. The NFL has been actively promoting itself in Europe and beyond.
“The NFL is such a uniquely American sport, and this is their big, global try,” said Dan Durbin, the director of the Institute of Sports, Media and Society at USC. “The NFL dominates in the U.S. You get 10 miles into the Atlantic or Pacific, and it disappears. This gives it a chance to make it visible to a global audience.”
Flag football is a 5-on-5 game played on a 50-yard field where “tackles” involve pulling flags off players’ belts. In the recent World Games, the U.S. men won gold, while the women’s team lost to Mexico in the final.
Breakdancing, set to debut in Paris next year, will not be part of the Los Angeles Olympics program. Additionally, sports like motorsports, kickboxing, and karate did not make the cut.
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