The National Football League today confirmed that three cities are in discussions to host regular-season games in Germany.
The NFL, which has staged 29 games in London since 2007 and will play its 30th at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, is aiming to find the most suitable partner city for a possible expansion of the International Series into Germany.
After an initial period in which expressions of interest were received from multiple cities, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich have been invited to proceed to the "candidate phase" of the process. Those cities will now participate in deeper conversations about staging games in Germany.
"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," said Brett Gosper, NFL Head of Europe and UK.
"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 enjoyed a number of strong years of fan growth in Germany, where it now has 19 million fans. Weekly NFL television viewership on partners ProSieben and DAZN has grown by more than 20% annually since 2017, and millions of fans tuned in for Super Bowl LV in February, making it the third consecutive season of record German Super Bowl viewership. Germany is a leading market outside North America for NFL Shop sales, fantasy football participation and sales of the Madden NFL video game.
German-born players are making an increasing impact on the NFL, with fullback Jakob Johnson becoming a regular starter for the New England Patriots during the 2020 season and two other Germans currently in the NFL as part of the International Player Pathway program, David Bada (Washington) and Aaron Donkor (Seattle Seahawks). In recent seasons, Sebastian Vollmer won two Super Bowls (XLIX and LI) as part of the Patriots offensive line that protected quarterback Tom Brady, while Björn Werner was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.