The NFL announced on Wednesday that they will be expanding their international series from just London and Mexico City to include the German market. The NFL has played 30 games in London since 2007 and three games in Mexico City since 2016, with their most recent trip coming in 2019. The league will now play four games, once a year, from 2022 to 2025 at FC Bayern Munich Stadium (Munich) and Frankfurt Stadium (Frankfurt) as the league dabbles in European expansion.
In December, the NFL announced their International Home Marketing Area teams and markets, which gives structure to teams attempting to develop fan bases internationally. The four teams who were allocated Germany were the Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For reference, Germany had the third-most teams apply for Home Marketing Areas behind Mexico (nine) and the United Kingdom (six.) Some teams applied for multiple countries through the league’s HMA program while others, like the Green Bay Packers, did not apply for any.
Below is the NFL’s full statement on the German games:
Following a competitive application process, FC Bayern Munich Stadium, the home of the Bundesliga champions, was selected as the venue for two of the four International Series games to be played in Germany over the next four years. Frankfurt Stadium will also host two games.
“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. “We look forward to staging our first game in Germany at FC Bayern Munich’s fantastic stadium later this year and to exploring areas of broader collaboration with the Bundesliga.”
The game in Munich will be one of five international games staged by the NFL in 2022, including one in Mexico and three in the UK - two at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and a Jacksonville Jaguars home game at Wembley Stadium. Home teams for international games will be announced in the coming weeks, with dates and matchups to be confirmed in conjuction with the 2022 NFL schedule announcement later this year.
Last spring, the NFL made it clear that with their expansion to a 17-game regular season that every team in the league will now play in an international game over an eight-year window. As of 2022, the only NFL team to not have played in an international game is the Packers, who have nine home games on their schedule next season.
As Acme Packing Company’s Evan “Tex” Western wrote in June, the Packers make a great case for a team that would make a cultural fit for a German game, even if they did not apply for an HMA designation for Germany:
Of particular interest for fans of the Green Bay Packers is the logical connection between the Packers’ fan base and a potential game in Germany. The prevalence of German immigrants who settled in the state of Wisconsin is one connection, and the food products they brought, such as beer and sausage, remain a major part of sports and tailgating culture. Therefore, sending the Packers and their fans to Munich would be a perfect fit.
Should the NFL work out details for a game in Germany in 2022 and if the Packers are a primary target, there are several possible matchups that could intrigue the NFL. First, the Packers are scheduled to have nine regular season home games in 2022, and the NFL has informed teams that they will be forced to give up a home game for an international contest at least once every eight years. That could be an option to send Green Bay overseas in 2022, giving up one home contest while still maintaining a normal complement of eight regular season games at Lambeau Field.