NEW YORK — Today, the NFL debuted its new campaign for Super Bowl LVIII, “Born To Play,” a powerful ode to the diverse and inclusive spirit of the international game of football. In an unprecedented two-minute commercial immediately following the Apple Music Halftime Show, the spot celebrates the growth of football around the globe and promotes increased opportunity to the sport for anyone who dreams of playing.
The spot opens in a traditional Ghanaian home with a young football fanatic itching to get outdoors to play the game, imagining himself in an intense football game through the city on his way to school – alongside NFL’s prominent players including Saquon Barkley (New York Giants), Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings), Cameron Jordan (New Orleans Saints) and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Cleveland Browns). The journey leads the young fan to an NFL camp, where he witnesses others training to one day play at the highest levels of the game.
“The momentum around the global expansion of American football is real and exciting. Our intent is to embrace and celebrate this movement through powerful communication on our biggest stage, focusing on the growth of both flag and tackle football,” said NFL Chief Marketing Officer, Tim Ellis. “This is an inspiring and warm-hearted story about a boy from Ghana who fantasizes and dreams of playing football, and it celebrates the fact that anyone, from any background, can turn that dream into reality.”
Inspired by a speech given to NFL hopefuls at a football camp hosted by British-Nigerian former NFL player-pioneer and two-time Superbowl champion, Osi Umenyiora, the story mirrors the NFL and Osi’s collective mission to encourage and offer youth around the world the life-changing experience and opportunity to play at the highest levels of the game.
“Talent is global but opportunity is not. Opening doors for international athletes is not only a passion of mine, but it’s a way to give back to future generations of athletes” said Osi Umenyiora. “The NFL is life changing, and the pathway to play the sport is now a truly global one. The league’s international football development programs are helping to change young people’s lives and grow the game around the world. This campaign shows young people globally that it doesn’t matter where you were born, but you were born to play.”
The commercial was created by 72andSunny and directed by Andrew Dosunmu, a renowned photographer-turned-director and native of Lagos, Nigeria who is celebrated for his powerful film collaborations with Travis Scott. All film production took place in Ghana, with more than 90 local Ghanian crew members and a cast of 400 local Ghanaian actors incorporated into the spot.
Growing the game of football globally and increasing the number of international athletes playing in the NFL are priorities for the league. Five regular season games will be played as part of the 2024 NFL International Games, including an historic first-ever regular season game in São Paulo, Brazil – the first in South America.
Seeing explosive growth around the world at both the grassroots and elite levels, flag football is the most accessible format of the game. The International Federation of American Football (IFAF), supported by the NFL, led efforts for flag football’s successful inclusion in the Olympics Games Los Angeles 2028.
In addition to flag, there are a number of exciting international football development programs, including the International Player Pathway (IPP) Program, which sees the NFL work to engage and enable participation for all ages and all stages to play American football (tackle and flag formats) around the world. Established in 2017, the IPP program provides opportunities for elite international athletes to compete for a potential spot on an NFL roster. To learn more about the IPP Program and other football developments programs including the NFL Academy and NFL Flag, please visit https://www.nfl.com/international/.