American football is heading to Germany for the first time.
The NFL announced Wednesday that it chose Munich as its first-ever location in Germany to host regular-season games in the 2022 season.
Allianz Arena will host the international series games in 2022, and Deutsche Bank Park will follow in 2023. The league plans to return to both cities again in 2024 and 2025.
“We are very pleased to welcome Munich and Frankfurt to the NFL family and are excited to reward our fans in Germany for their passion by bringing them the spectacle of regular-season NFL football,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The league will also explore broader collaboration with the Bundesliga champions during its time at their home stadium, Goodell said.
"We have been collaborating with the NFL since 2014 when we opened our U.S. office," said Oliver Kahn, CEO of FC Bayern Munich. "Our ambition was to reach and engage fans in each other's respective home countries.”
Three German cities were considered to host the games: Munich, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf.
U.S. & World
There will be five regular-season games on international stages, including Germany, in 2022. Three games will be played in London, and the other one will be played in Mexico. The NFL will announce a list of home teams with dates and matchups later in the spring.
Why is the NFL playing games overseas?
Even though the games in Munich will mark the first time the NFL plays in Germany, it won’t be the first time the league plays overseas. Since the 2006 season, the league has been scheduling at least one game outside the U.S. every season. However, the COVID-19 pandemic put a break to it due to travel restrictions.
Prior to 2007, all international games were considered a part of the preseason, and it started as early as 1950. The NFL started regular-season games overseas due to the rising interests of foreign audience.
In fact, the 2005 contest between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers that was held in Mexico City drew attendance of 103,467, one of the largest crowds in NFLs history. The first international series game in London between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants only took 90 minutes to sell the first 40,000 tickets, and the organization sold 95,000 tickets in total.
However, the NFL never matched two winning teams in any overseas games.
The league previously expanded its global reach when it granted 18 teams international marketing rights across eight countries for at least a five-year term. The teams were awarded 26 rights in total, including merchandise sales, fan events and corporate sponsorship to build international fan base.
The NFL owners approved last year a plan that guarantees at least four international games every season. Besides England, Mexico and Germany, Canada was also reported as a potential site for future international games.