The NFL Goes Truly International With First-Ever Game in Germany

Photo by Muyuan Ma on Unsplash

The National Football League (NFL) is American Football’s elite-level competition, one watched by millions of Americans every week. It is not only Americans that tune into NFL games; the game’s popularity is continually growing internationally. An impressive 140 million viewers watched the 2021 Super Bowl, with 30-50 million viewers hailing from outside the United States. The NFL is capitalising on the sport’s surge in popularity by hosting a regular season game in Germany for the first time on November 13.

NFL games taking place outside the United States are becoming more frequent. Indeed, the NFL’s management team decided that each team must stage at least one international fixture every eight years. Up to four of the teams from the conference where teams are eligible for a ninth home fixture from their 17-game schedule instead play a game at a neutral international venue. International NFL games are nothing new. There have been 43 such fixtures over the years, with the first non-US NFL game taking place back in 2005 in Azteca, Mexico. Of the 43 international NFL games, London has hosted 33, Toronto six, and Mexico City four.

Heading to Germany in the First of Four Fixtures

November 13 reigning Germany Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich hand over their world-famous Allianz Arenato the NFL for the weekend. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lock horns with the Seattle Seahawks. Both franchises lead their respective divisions going into Week 10. The Buccaneers are the favourites with those people betting on football games despite the Seahawks enjoying a far superior win-loss record at this stage.

The clash between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks is the first of four games scheduled in Germany over the next four years. Another match in Munich is confirmed, as are two games at the Waldstadion, otherwise known as Deutsche Bank Park, in Frankfurt.

Why Germany?

Why has the NFL chosen Germany to host four fixtures? Because, believe it or not, American Football is incredibly popular among the German population. Current estimates put the number of German NFL fans around 19 million. At the same time, weekly viewership of the NFL via partners DAZN and ProSieben has increased by more than 20 per cent annually since 2017. In addition, sales from the NFL Shop and the annual Madden video game are steadily growing, while participation in fantasy football is rising.

There are approximately 500 registered American Football teams with more than 70,000 members across the country, according to the German Olympic Sports Confederation. The German Bowl, the annual championship game, regularly attracts more than 20,000 fans. The audience and infrastructure are there, so Germany is the ideal country to broaden the NFL’s international audience.

The fact there are six German players frequenting the NFL is another significant reason for the NFL’s popularity in Germany. David Bada (Washington Commanders), Marcel Dabo (Indianapolis Colts), Dominik Eberle (Green Bay Packers), Jakob Johnson (Las Vegas Raiders), and Vyncint Smith (Indianapolis Colts) will not be at the Allianz Arena come November 13, but Aaron Donker may be, as he is in the practice squad of the Seattle Seahawks.

One man on the ground for Germany’s first-ever NFL fixture is Bjorn Werner, who is one of the main reasons for a surge in the game’s popularity in his native Germany. Werner was a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, with the Indianapolis Colts signing him to a four-year deal worth $7.9 million, including a $4.12 million signing bonus. Werner played more than 30 games for the Colts before joining the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, the Jaguars waived Werner after only three months, and Werner retired soon after, citing ongoing problems stemming from injuries he endured on the field.

The game should be a roaring success, and NFL fans only have to wait until the evening of November 13 to find out if that is the case.

Tags from the story
, ,
Written By
More from Andre Dixon
New Era celebrates over 102 years with a new seasonal campaign
  For the holiday 2022 season, New Era cements its status as...
Read More
0 replies on “The NFL Goes Truly International With First-Ever Game in Germany”