Ex-NFL Europe Sea Devils, Galaxy naming rights secured by European League of Football

What was once rumored is now official.

The brand-new European League of Football announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to terms with the NFL for the naming rights from two former NFL Europe teams.

The Hamburg Sea Devils and the Frankfurt Galaxy, last used under the NFL Europe flag, will now compete as franchises in a wholly European run professional American football league.

In a strange twist, this pair of clubs also appeared in the very final NFL Europe game, the 2007 World Bowl.  The Sea Devils beat the hosts and four-time winners Frankfurt Galaxy in front of 48,125 spectators at Commerzbank Arena, in Frankfurt.

Now the Sea Devils and Galaxy turn to build on their old successes with a renewed drive in the European League of Football.

2021 ELF season still on track

The line-up for the premiere season of the European League of Football, which kicks-off in June and whose champion will be crowned in September 2021, is almost complete.

The Polish champions Wroclaw Panthers, Barcelona Gladiators, Stuttgart Scorpions, German Knights 1367 Niedersachsen, Ingolstadt Praetorians and a franchise from Berlin will also compete for the trophy.

“We are pleased to have a highly attractive starting field with eight franchises from three nations,” says Commissioner Patrick Esume.

Ghosts of football past

“Sea Devils, Galaxy – these names remind of great memories for many fans and of course trigger great emotions for me personally. As a Hamburg resident, it makes me proud to see the city again with the Sea Devils as part of our league.” Esume. Esume was the special teams and wide receiver coach for the NFL Europe Hamburg Sea Devils in 2007.

“We would like to thank the NFL for giving us the green light after very constructive talks and for making it possible to bring Hamburg Sea Devils and Frankfurt Galaxy back onto the stage of European football. This excites us as league officials, but especially the many fans of the teams who have had to wait 14 years for this return,” emphasizes Zeljko Karajica, Managing Director of SEH Sports & Entertainment Holding and the European League of Football, both based in Hamburg.

David Knower, chairman of the advisory board of the European League of Football, initiated and negotiated the agreement with the NFL. “We are delighted about the agreement to be able to use the naming rights of the former NFL Europe teams,” says Knower, who worked with the NFL Europe Advisory Board.

Beyond that, there are no further connections between the European League of Football and the NFL as things stand.

Hamburg Sea Devils

Max Paatz has been chosen to lead the Sea Devils as general manager. “I am very much looking forward to being able to set up a top football program in the future as managing director of Hamburg Sea Devils. Expectations are high in a city with such a great football past. But I know that Hamburg in particular has incredibly strong, athletic talent in American football. In dialogue with the local clubs, we would like to bundle it and create a flagship for Hamburg football. “

Paatz is the former sports director of the first and second division clubs the Hamburg Huskies, Lübeck Cougars and Elmshorn Fighting Pirates.

The Sea Devil home games will be played from in the Hoheluft Stadium. The NFL Europe Sea Devils,  which competed from 2005 to 2007 played in the Volksparkstadion.

Frankfurt Galaxy

Last fall, the ‘Frankfurt Football Team’ split off from German Football League club Frankfurt Universe sparking theories around the return of the Galaxy that have come to pass.

The Galaxy originally played in the World League of American Football and later in the resurrected NFL Europe. The team was based in Frankfurt, Germany and played in the Commerzbank-Arena. The ex-NFL Europe Galaxy was the only team in the league to have remained in operation and in the same city throughout the league’s existence.

The name of the franchise was shared by ex-Universe managing director Alexander Korosek.  With the return to the team name Galaxy, the Frankfurters could build on old, successful times on the new ELF stage.

Ran.de television rights

On February 7, Super Bowl Sunday, Karajica and Esume announced that they had a strong and established partner at their side in German broadcaster ProSieben MAXX and “ran Football”, which will broadcast 13 games live and exclusively on free TV as well as other games and highlights on ran.de

John McKeon
John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.
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