Three German cities are currently bidding to determine who will host upcoming American football games. The National Football League, America’s biggest gridiron football organization, has selected Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, and Munich to enter into the final consideration for becoming a host city. “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,” reads an official NFL statement.
“Those cities will now participate in deeper conversations about staging games in Germany.”
It’s no secret that American football has struggled to break through in Europe. Despite the sport’s extreme popularity and success in the United States, it’s had a rough time across the Atlantic.
The now-defunct NFL Europe league, which operated until 2007, was somewhat popular in Germany but struggled to make an impact in other European countries. By the end of its run, the majority of NFL Europe’s teams were based out of Germany. The league was shuttered because it was operating at a substantial loss every season.
More recently, however, German fans seem to have a renewed appetite for gridiron football. The European League of Football was founded in 2020 as the first fully professional gridiron football league in Europe since the collapse of the European NFL. The ELF played its inaugural season in 2021, and six of the eight teams are based in Germany.
Germany is one of the biggest economies in the world. In addition to this, sports fans in the country have more of an appetite for American football than most other Europeans. The newest discussions between Germany and the NFL have German fans hopeful for the sport to achieve more mainstream popularity.
“I hope we’ll see a game in Germany in 2022, we’re on a course for that to happen,” Brett Gosper, the NFL’s head of Europe and UK operations, told reporters. “There might be other obstacles that emerge during this process,” Gosper noted, such as the upcoming FIFA World Cup in November of 2022. That event will overlap with the timing of the regular season for American football.
“We’re cautious to say we’re definitely in 2022, but it certainly won’t be later than 2023,” Gosper confirmed with reporters. The announcement of which city will host the game is expected to come during the Super Bowl at the end of this season, which will take place in February.