NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has suggested that Germany could host more games than it is currently scheduled to amid the excitement surrounding yesterday’s (Sunday’s) fixture between the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Munich’s Allianz Arena.
The game, which attracted a crowd of 69,811, was the first regular-season NFL game to be held in Germany. Allianz Arena, home of Bundesliga football club Bayern Munich, was selected to host the historic game back in February.
Yesterday’s game was the first of two to be held at Allianz Arena, with Frankfurt’s Deutsche Bank Park to also stage two fixtures. After yesterday’s game, the two venues will alternate hosting rights until 2025.
Ahead of the Buccaneers’ 21-16 win over the Seahawks, Goodell said that the NFL will be staging “at least” four games in Germany over the next four years, hinting that the schedule will be expanded. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it expanded beyond that at some point soon,” Goodell said.
The atmosphere at yesterday’s game was praised by players and staff, with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll stating: “The fans were extraordinary, and everything about this whole trip has been great. What a spectacle. This is an unforgettable occurrence. To be in that stadium with them all connected like that, I don’t know. I was respecting the fact they must have done this a lot because they’re really good at it. It is an unforgettable experience and I really feel lucky to have a chance to be here.”
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady also described the game as “one of the great football experiences” he has ever had, adding that the fan turnout was “incredible”.
The staging of regular-season games in Germany forms part of the NFL’s growing commitment to the country. The league recently appointed Alexander Steinforth as its dedicated general manager for the territory and is committed to establishing a permanent headquarters in the country.
In December last year, the NFL announced that the Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots had been granted access to Germany for marketing, fan engagement and commercialisation as part of the league’s International Home Marketing Areas initiative.
The NFL hosted five pre-season games in Germany between 1990 and 1994.