By Joseph Phillips
In a recent announcement, the National Football League confirmed that Munich has been chosen to stage the first-ever regular-season game in Germany, during the 2022 season.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “We are very pleased to welcome Munich and Frankfurt to the NFL family and are excited to reward our fans in Germany for their passion by bringing them the spectacle of regular-season NFL football.
“We look forward to staging our first game in Germany at FC Bayern Munich’s fantastic stadium, later this year, and to exploring areas of broader collaboration with the Bundesliga.”
Following a competitive application process, FC Bayern Munich Stadium, the home of the Bundesliga champions, was selected as the venue for two of the four International Series games to be played in Germany over the next four years. Frankfurt Stadium will also host two games.
The game in Munich will be one of five international games staged by the NFL in 2022, including one in Mexico and three in the UK, two at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and a Jacksonville Jaguars home game at Wembley Stadium.
Home teams for international games will be announced in the coming weeks, with dates and matchups to be confirmed in conjunction with the 2022 NFL schedule announcement later this year.
Dieter Reiter, Lord Mayor of Munich, said: “We are very pleased to welcome the NFL International Series to Munich. It is a great honor for the state capital Munich to be the first German city to stage a regular-season NFL game. Many Munich residents are big football fans and they will be thrilled that this spectacular sporting event is coming to their city.”
“We have been collaborating with the NFL since 2014 when we opened our U.S. office,” said Oliver Kahn, CEO of FC Bayern Munich. “Our ambition was to reach and engage fans in each other’s respective home countries. We are delighted to take this next step in our long-term partnership to host a regular-season NFL game at our home stadium.”
Frankfurt Sports Councilor Mike Josef said: “American football was and still is at home in Frankfurt. That’s why I’m very pleased about the NFL’s decision to come to Frankfurt on a regular basis. The NFL is not just coming to Frankfurt for a game. With its sustainable engagement in our community, we are sure to achieve a great boost for sports in Frankfurt. We are looking forward to working with the NFL.”
Axel Hellman, CEO of Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt, said: “We are totally excited to be hosting two matches in the next years here in Frankfurt. Welcome to Eintracht Frankfurt. Welcome to the heart of Europe.”
Bundesliga CEO Donata Hopfen said: “We are pleased that the NFL has consulted with the Bundesliga in the planning of its first regular-season NFL games in Germany. These conversations have led both leagues to agree to explore the potential of a mutually beneficial collaborative partnership, which is very exciting for clubs in both leagues.”
The selection process for NFL games in Germany began last year with initial expressions of interest from nine cities, after which Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich were invited to participate in a full evaluation of the opportunities offered by each city. The partnerships between the NFL and Munich and Frankfurt include a joint commitment to deliver fan engagement activities, community participation programs and other NFL initiatives.
“We are looking forward to partnerships with Munich and Frankfurt that will extend beyond the games and help us to deliver accelerated growth in Germany,” said Brett Gosper, NFL Head of Europe and UK.
“The strong interest we received underlined what a fantastic opportunity regular-season games offer for a host, ranging from significant economic benefits and global exposure to the chance to become a hub for the growth of the NFL’s fan engagement, community and grassroots activities.
“We also thank Düsseldorf, which presented a strong aligned consortium with ambitious plans. We look forward to developing a partnership there, with a potential for hosting games in the future.”
The staging of regular-season games is part of the NFL’s growing commitment to Germany. The League has recently appointed Alexander Steinforth as its dedicated general manager for the territory and is committed to establishing a permanent headquarters in the country. It has also committed to investing in grassroots and community programs in Germany.
This past December, the NFL announced that four NFL teams – Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers – have been granted access to Germany for marketing, fan engagement and commercialization as part of its International Home Marketing Areas (IHMA) initiative.
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.