The NFL is back in Germany for the second consecutive season, with two games scheduled in Frankfurt this November. The league is aiming to capitalize on the huge interest and potential of the German market, where millions of fans are looking for a team to follow.
The first game will feature the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, taking on the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, November 5. The Chiefs are one of the five teams that have commercial rights in Germany under the NFL’s global markets program, which allows them to sign sponsorship deals, hold fan events, and sell merchandise in the country.
The Chiefs are bringing their star power and their trophy to Frankfurt, hoping to attract more fans to their franchise. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the reigning MVP and tight end Travis Kelce is having another big season and is also in a relationship with pop star Taylor Swift, which adds to the buzz around the team.
The Chiefs have spent $1 million in preparation and fan events for Frankfurt. They have docked a Chiefs-themed yacht in the Main river for fans to board and get a selfie with the Lombardi trophy from their 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl.
Patriots and Colts clash in a classic rivalry
The second game will see the New England Patriots face the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, November 12. The Patriots are another team that has commercial rights in Germany and are also one of the most successful and popular franchises in the NFL. They have won six Super Bowls since 2002, led by coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, who left the team last year to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Colts are a familiar foe for the Patriots, as they have met several times in the playoffs over the years. The Colts have a young and talented roster, led by quarterback Carson Wentz, who joined the team this year from the Eagles. The Colts are looking to make a statement against the Patriots and prove themselves as contenders in the AFC.
Both teams are expected to bring a large number of fans to Frankfurt, as they have loyal and passionate fan bases across Germany. The game will also be a showcase of some of the best players and coaches in the league, as well as a chance to relive some of the memorable moments from their past encounters.
Hybrid field for better playing conditions
The NFL is also taking measures to ensure that the playing surface is optimal for both games. The league has installed a hybrid field at Deutsche Bank Park, which is the home of Bundesliga soccer club Eintracht Frankfurt. The hybrid field is composed of mostly natural grass with synthetic fibers woven into it as reinforcement.
The decision to use a hybrid field came after some players and coaches complained about slipping on the natural grass at Allianz Arena last year, when the Buccaneers played the Seattle Seahawks in Munich. The game caused enough damage that the grass had to be replaced afterward.
The hybrid field will provide better traction and stability for the players, as well as reduce wear and tear on the surface. The NFL said it collaborates with the host stadium to ensure that the game field is in compliance with its mandatory practices.
Huge opportunity for growth
The NFL sees Germany as a key market for its international expansion, as it has millions of casual and avid fans who are eager to watch more games and support their favorite teams. The league said it has 18 million casual fans and 3.6 million avid ones in Germany, which is roughly one in five residents.
The league also said that most Germans do not have a team yet, which means that there is a massive opportunity for franchises to pick up fans by being active and engaging in the country. The league hopes that by bringing regular-season games to Germany, it can increase its fan base and its revenue.
The NFL has been playing games in London since 2007 and has also hosted games in Mexico City. The league has plans to expand its international series to other countries in the future, such as Canada, Brazil, China, and Japan.