The NFL American football league has announced the launch of a process to identify a partner city for regular-season games in Germany as it looks to expand its presence in Europe.
The NFL has staged 28 games in London since 2007 and will host two more at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium later this year. The league is now looking to find the most suitable German city for a possible expansion of its International Series into mainland Europe.
The NFL has appointed London-based The Sports Consultancy to assist the process to find suitable German host cities. The Sports Consultancy will work with interested cities to develop their proposals.
Brett Gosper, the NFL’s head of UK and Europe, said: “The International Series has become a highlight of the sporting calendar in the UK, with many fans travelling from Germany to attend. We are very excited about the development of our German fan base, and the time is right to identify a partner who can execute a game at NFL standards as part of our international growth strategy.
“This process is designed to explore potential local partnerships, stadium suitability and game logistics. We need engaged and motivated host partners that span the public sector, venue, sport, community and major event spheres and can help us deliver a high-impact event and a long-term partnership. Identifying a preferred host city is a key step in bringing regular-season NFL games to our millions of German fans.”
The NFL has continued to grow in popularity in Germany, with weekly television viewership on ProSieben and DAZN having increased by more than 20% annually since 2017.
The NFL announced last month that Tottenham Hotspur Stadium’s two games would be the league’s only outings in the UK this year. The announcement meant that Wembley Stadium, the NFL’s regular home in the UK, will not host a game this year.
In March, the NFL announced plans to change its season structure for the first time since 1978 after teams voted to approve measures to usher in a new system to allocate international games. From this year, each team will play 17 regular-season games and three pre-season games for the first time.
The enhanced season will ensure that, beginning in 2022, all 32 clubs will play internationally at least once every eight years. The NFL said in March that the scheduling of up to four neutral-site games per year in a country outside the US will focus initially on Canada, Europe, Mexico, South America and the UK.
The NFL staged five pre-season games in Germany between 1990 and 1994, and had a professional team presence in the country between 1991 and 2007 with the Berlin Thunder, Cologne Centurions, Frankfurt Galaxy, Hamburg Sea Devils and Rhein Fire playing at various times in the former World League/NFL Europe League/NFL Europa.
The NFL has previously staged regular-season games in Mexico and Canada.