After successful attempts at bringing the NFL to England, Canada, and Mexico it seems that Germany will soon be the fourth international location for upcoming regular-season games…
The NFL has become one of the most-watched sports in the entire world, and with that honor comes hoards upon hoards of people clamoring for opportunities to view games in person rather than through a television screen with subtitles.
Over the past two decades, the NFL has normalized playing games outside the United States, especially since 2007 when Goodell started pushing two games per season to a location outside the country, and because of the success that has ensued from these international matches, there has never been any doubt that Goodell would continue with games being played overseas.
Goodell and the league ensured that this international trend would continue by stating earlier this year that every NFL franchise will be required to play a home game outside the U.S.A. at least once every eight years starting in 2022. All this means is that it will become even more routine to watch certain games early in the morning or extremely late at night due to the international time differences, and that is fine with pretty much everybody outside many fans of the teams participating.
With that in mind, the NFL is looking to expand back into a country that they have previously held preseason games in, Germany, which makes sense because there is already a history between the league and the Germans.
Currently, the two cities that are lucky enough to receive an NFL game this season are London, England, and Mexico City, Mexico, both accustomed to hosting these events after years of regular-season games being played in their respective stadiums.
And although those two cities receive the most important games (i.e. regular-season games) there has been a flurry of preseason exhibitions to be played outside these particular international locations. For instance, there have been 13 exhibition games played in Tokyo, with the most recent being a 2005 matchup between Atlanta and Indianapolis.
In fact, outside the United Kingdom and Mexico, there have been eight countries to be blessed with at least one NFL game–either preseason or regular season–which include: Spain (two games), Germany (five games), Ireland (one game), Sweden (one game), Canada (27 games), Australia (one game), and Japan (14 games).
Some of these countries have had games played at more than one stadium or in more than one of their cities. For example, one of the reasons Canada has so many previous matchups within its borders is because they have five cities that are able to withstand the influx of fans and publicity (Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, & Winnipeg), not to mention the short trip North is easier than 10-hour plane rides.
This is also true with England’s NFL games which have previously been held at Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium–both located in London–due to the maximum capacity that both can hold and the popularity of both stadiums amongst the English citizens.
Even though the NFL is only naming Germany at the moment there are high hopes that the new “one-international-game-per-eight-years” rule (mentioned above) will lead to marketing rights in countries like Brazil and Australia which would help the NFL grow even more exponentially than they already are.