Why Does the NFL Play in Germany?

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

Why Does the NFL Play in Germany?

The 2022 NFL season marked a shift in the league’s approach to international football since shutting down NFL Europe. After trips to London, England, and Mexico City, Mexico, became more frequent, the NFL added a new stop last year: Munich, Germany. Why? And who’s on tap to return to Munich in 2023?

Why Is the NFL Playing Games in Germany?

While NFL franchises playing in Germany might seem strange 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.

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 consistently selling tickets for NFL football games.

Five clubs popped up around Germany between 1995 and 2007. The games would routinely pull 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 in America would assume London to be the hub of NFL fandom across the pond, Germany has been the center of American football culture for quite some time. 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. Clearly, Germany was 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.

2022 NFL International Series Results

  • Vikings vs. Saints
    Result: Vikings 28, Saints 25
  • Giants vs. Packers
    Result: Giants 27, Packers 22
  • Broncos vs. Jaguars
    Result: Broncos 21, Jaguars 17
  • Seahawks vs. Buccaneers
    Result: Buccaneers 21, Seahawks 16
  • 49ers vs. Cardinals
    Result: 49ers 38, Cardinals 10

Which NFL Teams Will Play in Munich in 2023?

Last season marked the first of four consecutive years of scheduled NFL play in Munich, with the Buccaneers knocking off the upstart Seahawks. And those who watched it witnessed Tom Brady getting credit for a solo tackle — the only time he accomplished this feat in 383 combined regular-season and playoff games. The guy he tackled? Tariq Woolen, who was less than a year old when Brady entered the league.

Assuredly, we’re all thankful Brady waited two decades to tackle him.

For the upcoming season, the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots are each scheduled to host a game in Germany.

B.J. Rudell is a betting and fantasy analyst at Pro Football Network. You can read all of BJ’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @BJRudell.