Jarryd Hayne has yet to see his first action with the San Francisco 49ers and he’s already paying dividends for the entire National Football League.
As soon as Niners rookie coach Jim Tomsula proclaimed that Hayne had made the final roster, the Australian-airing Seven Network was already trumpeting that it now plans to carry at least 14 of the team’s 16 regular season games this year in that market. The network has also acquired the rights to broadcast the Super Bowl, several NFL playoff games, and the traditional Thanksgiving Day matchups.
Just like that, the NFL has as big of a foothold as it has ever had in trying to build a diehard fan-base in such faraway places in that part of the world. According to Ticketbis.com, the NFL International Series taking place in London next month has 39% of ticket sales from outside the UK coming mainly from France, Germany, and Belgium.
Not only that, the 49ers, who already are a very prominent franchise, have extended their presence to the other side of the globe, which is just another reason why tickets to see the San Francisco 49ers for the upcoming year are being highly sought after on the secondary market.
For the former rugby star, the opportunity comes as so much more, namely the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to play NFL football.
“IT ALWAYS WORKS OUT! I thank GOD for WHAT HE has done and going to do on this incredible journey!!,” Haynes tweeted after he recently officially received the news of his new status. “I’m on the 53 MAN ROSTER FOR THE #49ers.”
Hayne has already become a household name in the states, where his all-purpose style and uniquely-gifted playmaking skills quickly became must-watch highlights during the preseason. So quickly has he adapted and ingratiated himself to the NFL way of things, his No. 38 jersey is now the top-selling shirt in the NFL’s online store.
All this from a man who just six months ago admittedly told himself he was taking a “massive leap of faith” by even agreeing to come to camp with the 49ers.
Before making the San Francisco roster, Hayne already had a significant presence on another roster in sports — that of the Parramatta Eels, whom he starred with in the National Rugby League. The Eels play in the premier rugby league of Australia.
“So very proud of this kid,” former 49ers offensive lineman and native Samoan Jesse Sapolou posted on Facebook. “It’s a lesson to all young athletes to go after your dreams. You’re a pioneer to all from Australia and New Zealand who want to play Gridiron. Welcome to the 49er family.”
Now the entire NFL is counting on him taking the league places it’s never gone before.