The NFL American football league has confirmed today (Tuesday) that the German cities of Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich are in discussions to host regular-season games.

The three cities have been invited to proceed to the ‘candidate phase’ of the selection process following an initial period in which expressions of interest were received from multiple cities.

Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich will now participate in deeper conversations about staging games in Germany.

The announcement comes after the NFL in June launched a process to identify a partner city for regular-season games in Germany as it looks to expand its presence in Europe. The NFL appointed London-based The Sports Consultancy to assist the process to find suitable German host cities.

The NFL has staged 29 games in London since 2007 and will play its 30th at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday when the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Miami Dolphins. The league is exploring the possibility of expanding its International Series into mainland Europe and is seeking the most suitable German candidate.

Düsseldorf’s 54,600-capacity Merkur Spiel-Arena is home to 2.Bundesliga club Fortuna Düsseldorf and has also been used to host major boxing events. Frankfurt boasts the 51,500-capacity Deutsche Bank Park, while Munich is home of the 75,000-seat Allianz Arena (pictured).

Brett Gosper, head of the NFL in Europe and the UK, said: “Regular-season games are a key part of continuing the development of our German fan base by creating more excitement for the sport and more connectivity with fans and communities.

“The strong interest we have received from German cities underlines what a fantastic opportunity this is for a host, ranging from the significant economic benefits and global exposure to the chance to become a hub for the growth of the NFL’s fan engagement, community and grassroots activities.

“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 a growing presence in Germany, with weekly television viewership having grown by more than 20% annually since 2017. Germany is also a leading market outside of North America for NFL Shop sales, fantasy football participation and sales of the Madden NFL video game.

Image: Herr Bohn on Unsplash