Why Does the NFL Play in Germany?

The NFL returned to Germany for the first time since 2007 last year. We examine why the league plans to continue the NFL Munich game.

The 2022 NFL season was a new beginning in the league’s approach to international football since the ending of NFL Europe. After NFL trips to London, England, and Mexico City, Mexico, became a regular occurrence for the NFL, the league decided to add a new stop last year: Munich, Germany.

But why Germany? And who’s on tap to return to Munich in 2023? Let’s take a closer look at the latest stop on the NFL’s international tour.

Why Is the NFL Playing Games in Germany?

While NFL franchises playing in Germany might seem like a foreign concept to some fans, the numbers beg to differ. According to a survey in 2021, American football was Germany’s second-most popular sport, with one in three people having contact with a game in the past year proving that American football spreads far wider than just the U.S.

These numbers are backed even further by the spectacle of football in Germany during NFL Europe. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Germany was one of the few European countries that was consistently selling tickets for NFL football games.

Five clubs were created around Germany between 1995 and 2007 and the games would routinely pull in close to 30,000 spectators, and around 500,000 German residents currently watch the country’s Sunday NFL doubleheader on the free-to-watch station ProSieben.

While many fans in America would assume that London is the hub of NFL fandom across the pond, it has actually been Germany that has been the center of American football culture for quite some time now. Allianz Arena was the site for the much-anticipated 2022 contest between the 6-3 Seahawks and 4-5 Buccaneers.

While the arena seats around 75,000 people, the NFL received three million ticket requests. Proving that Germany was clearly ready for the NFL’s return.

A New Format for the 2022 International Series

Last year, the league introduced a new format for the NFL’s regular-season International Series. The 2022 campaign featured five games and 10 teams heading to three different countries. Along with the NFL’s usual stop in London, the league returned to Mexico City for the first time since 2019 and, as mentioned above, played its first game in Munich. Another German city, Frankfurt, will also be in the mix in upcoming seasons.

These moves tracked with the NFL’s changes regarding its new International Series plan, in which they would schedule a minimum of four international games annually. Each of the 32 teams would host at least one game over an eight-year cycle.

In anticipation of the NFL’s International Series expansion outside of just London, the NFL announced International Home Marketing Areas for 18 teams across eight countries.

2023 NFL International Series Results

  • Atlanta Falcons vs Jacksonville Jaguars

Result: Jaguars 23, Falcons 7

  • Jacksonville Jaguars vs Buffalo Bills

Result: Jaguars 25, Bills 20

  • Baltimore Ravens vs Tennessee Titans

Result: Ravens 24, Titans 16

Which NFL Teams Will Play in Munich in 2023?

Last season marked the first of four consecutive years of the NFL being scheduled to play in Munich, with the Buccaneers beating the Seahawks. Those who watched witnessed Tom Brady getting credit for a solo tackle — the only time he accomplished this feat in his 383 combined regular-season and playoff games. The guy he tackled? Tariq Woolen, who wasn’t even a year old when Brady entered the league.

For the upcoming season, the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots are each scheduled to host a game in Germany. The Chiefs take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 9 and the Patriots play the Indianapolis Colts the following week.

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