American football’s NFL has today invited three German cities – Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, and Munich – to participate in detailed conversations with the league around hosting regular-season games in Germany.
The league, which first outlined its intention to look for a suitable German host city in June this year, has now identified the trio with which it will now take the matter forward before one location is eventually selected as the NFL's partner.
Expressions of interest have been received from multiple cities over the last few months, and now the three mentioned above – all in different regions of the country – have been invited to move on to the ‘candidate phase’ of the selection process.
Those cities, the NFL has said, will “participate in deeper conversations about staging games”, before one is selected to join the likes of London in the UK as a host for NFL regular-season encounters.
Games have also previously been held in Mexico and Canada.
Brett Gosper, head of Europe and the UK, has now said: “The strong interest we have received from German cities underlines what a fantastic opportunity this is for a host, [including] significant economic benefits and global exposure…
“As well as identifying a stadium that is fully capable of handling the logistics of an NFL game, we want to work with a host consortium that comprises local and regional government, stadium ownership, local stakeholders, and potential commercial partners. We want this to be a long-term partnership.”
The NFL has claimed it now has 19 million German ‘fans’, while the weekly viewing figures on its broadcast partners in the country – commercial network ProSieben and international over-the-top subscription platform DAZN – have grown by over 20 per cent annually since 2017.
Three German players currently ply their trade in the NFL.
When it first announced its intention to find a German partner city earlier this year, the NFL engaged The Sports Consultancy, the UK-based strategic sports marketing firm, to help with the search.
The NFL previously staged five pre-season games in Germany, between 1990 and 1994, and had five German teams involved in the NFL Europe League, which ran under various guises from 1991 to 2007.
The 32 NFL franchises recently passed a resolution that from next year onwards, all teams will play internationally at least once every eight years, with up to four overseas NFL games to be scheduled each year.
London has staged NFL games since 2007, with last weekend’s encounter between the New York Jets and the Atlanta Falcons being watched live by an audience of just over 65,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.