American football’s NFL has announced an initial five teams – the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, and New England Patriots – that will each play international fixtures in 2023.
The Bills and Titans will take part in a game each at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, UK, with the Jaguars playing a match at Wembley Stadium in the same city, while the Chiefs and Patriots will play one fixture each in Germany.
2023 will be the first year that two NFL games take place in Germany. The league’s presence there in terms of live action began last season, with a single fixture being held in Munich.
the two games will take place in Munich and Frankfurt, with the destination for each team not having been announced yet.
Both the Chiefs and Patriots have been allocated Germany as an International Home Marketing Area (IMHA) through a program that began at the start of 2022.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, have been assigned the UK as an IHMA and will play a landmark 10th fixture there this year.
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This will be the second trip to London for both the Bills and Titans, while the Chiefs and Patriots will both be making their debuts in Germany.
The NFL’s inaugural game in Germany last November saw a sell-out crowd of 69,811 attend Munich’s Allianz Arena to watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Seattle Seahawks 21-16.
Fanatics, the NFL’s official e-commerce partner and exclusive event retail operator in Europe, said game-day merchandise sales at Allianz Arena broke records for an NFL game outside the US.
Due to renovations taking place at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, meanwhile, there will be no Mexico game in 2023.
The league has prioritized increasing its international presence after awarding IMHAs to 18 of its 32 franchises across eight countries to build its brand appeal and fanbase globally.
The eight IHMAs are the UK, Germany, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Spain, China, and Australia. Franchises are not limited to just one and indeed in some cases now have access to three.
The move meant that from the beginning of 2022, the teams were able to market their brands, drive fan engagement, and increase their commercial efforts in their allocated territories.
This includes fan events, merchandise sales, co-marketing relationships with other sports and entertainment properties in the same geographical areas, and both in-person and digital marketing efforts. Corporate sponsorship sale is included.
Peter O’Reilly, executive vice president for club business across major events and international at the NFL, said: “We know how important live regular season games are to our passionate global fans and we thank our clubs for their strong, long-term commitment to this important initiative. Interest in our game globally is at an all-time high, and we look forward to returning to the UK and Germany in 2023 with some of the most iconic clubs and stars in the NFL."
Robert Kraft, chair and chief executive at the Patriots, added: “We are thrilled to be selected to play in Germany this year. We are undefeated in our three previous international games, thanks in part to the outstanding support from our fans.
“We know that some of our most passionate fans reside in Germany, and we look forward to finally playing a game there … We are sure it will be a memorable experience and one of the highlights of the 2023 season.”
The NFL has said the 2022 set of international fixtures, with five games taking place across London, Munich, and Mexico City, “saw record-breaking attendances and viewership, as ticket demand and fandom continue to grow …”