NFL to Germany: A case for the three candidate cities

On October 12, the NFL announced its latest effort to grow the game globally. After years of rumors and the success of the London’s international series the NFL announced plans to host a regular-season game in Germany in the near future.

The history of NFL Europe’s popularity in Germany combined with surging viewership numbers make the country a premiere location for the NFL to invest in:

The International Series has become a highlight of the sporting calendar in the UK, with many fans travelling from Germany to attend,” said Brett Gosper, NFL Head of UK and Europe.

“We are very excited about the development of our German fan base, and the time is right to identify a partner who can execute a game at NFL standards as part of our international growth strategy.”

The three shortlisted cities have now been invited to progress to the ‘candidate phase’ of the process, inviting them to further conversations about welcoming the NFL to Germany. Unsurprisingly, the cities of Munich, Frankfurt, and Dusseldorf have made the cut after Germany’s capital Berlin declined to host.

Let’s take a look at what each city has to offer:

A case for Munich:

Munich city center Photo: Wikimedia

Besides the stereotypes of yodeling in the Alps with lederhosen, beer, and pretzels Munich’s rich sports culture makes it a prime candidate for this historic game. The city of one and a half million plays host to droves of tourists every fall as Oktoberfest takes over the city for about two weeks a year. Combining the two events could lead to an epic experience for fans making the trip to Bavaria’s capital.

Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena is the second-largest stadium in Germany with a capacity of 75,000. This rivals some of the NFL’s biggest venues. The modern design of the stadium and the success of the country’s premiere soccer team would give the NFL one of the best sports atmospheres Germany can provide.

Allianz Arena Photo: Wikimedia

A case for Dusseldorf:

Dusseldorf at night Photo: Wikimedia

Hard by the Rhine River, tise city of over 600,000 would provide international NFL fans with an excellent location to host the historic visit. Dusseldorf’s large metropolis provides visitors with one of Germany’s biggest airports in a culture rich city. It’s ideal geographic location gives it a major advantage as the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia is within driving distance from several major European cities such as Amsterdam, Brussels, Cologne, and even Frankfurt.

The Rhein Fire were one of the most successful franchises in NFL Europe back in the 2o00’s. Dusseldorf’s American football team won two world bowl championships with the support of a strong fan base.

The game’s venue would likely be Merkur SpielArena. The stadium is currently home to Fortuna Dusseldorf, a soccer team in Germany’s second league. Yet the capacity of only 54,600 fans could make NFL officials hesitate.

Merkur Spiel-Arena Photo: Wikimedia

A case for Frankfurt:

Frankfurt urban skyline Photo: Wikimedia

Frankfurt is one of Germany’s most international cities. The southwestern city is seen as one of the financial capitals of Europe as its home to the European Central Bank, the Frankfurt stock exchange, and Deutsche Bank. The city of over 700 thousand inhabitants serves as the primary hub for Luftansa making Frankfurt one of Europe’s busiest airports.

NFL die-hards might remember the Frankfurt Galaxy as NFL Europe’s premiere franchise. The Galaxy had a record eight appearances in the 15 World Bowl games, with four wins. The success of the team translated to popularity as the team had some of the league’s best attendance numbers.

On the downside, the home of Eintracht Frankfurt (Soccer), Waldstadion holds about 50,000 fans, significantly less than Wembley Stadium (90,000) in London. However, Waldstadion has hosted big games before as the venue for three World Bowls as part of NFL Europe.

Waldstadion Photo: Wikimedia

The NFL previously staged five preseason games in Germany between 1990 and 1994, its previous visits along with the history of NFL Europe should make the regular season in Germany a very attainable goal for a league committed to international growth. Whichever city is chosen, expect fans from all over the country and continent for that matter, to pack the house make the historic game one for the memories.

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football