Events

NFL set to up Germany games as Azteca steps back

Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s executive vice-president for club business and league events, has suggested that the league could play an extra regular-season game in Germany next year, with Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca set to miss out as it undergoes renovation work.

Last month, Germany staged its first regular-season NFL game as Allianz Arena, home of Bundesliga football club Bayern Munich, hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 21-16 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

It was the first of two games to be held at Allianz Arena, with Frankfurt’s Deutsche Bank Park to also stage two fixtures. The two venues are alternating hosting rights until 2025.

After the game was well received by players and fans alike, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suggested that Germany could host more games than it is currently scheduled to. With the Estadio Azteca now ruled out of hosting in 2023, Germany could step in.

The Estadio Azteca is scheduled to undergo renovation work ahead of football’s 2026 FIFA World Cup, which Mexico is co-hosting with the US and Canada. Speaking at the league’s winter meetings in Irving, Texas this week, O’Reilly told reporters that two games in Germany next year is a possibility.

This year, the NFL staged five international games, with Allianz Arena and the Estadio Azteca each hosting one. London’s Wembley Stadium also hosted one, while two were staged at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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.

Last month’s game at Allianz Arena attracted a crowd of 69,811, with Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady describing the occasion as “one of the great football experiences” he has ever had.