NFL Germany: Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich named as three finalist cities in search for host partner

Tuesday 12th October 2021 10:15 BST

Sky Sports revealed exclusively in August that seven cities, including Dusseldorf and Munich, had expressed an interest in becoming a host from 2022 after the league officially launched its search for a suitable partner in a bid to expand its international operation into mainland Europe.

The three shortlisted cities have now been invited to progress to the 'candidate phase' of the process, which will see them take part in further conversations about welcoming the NFL to Germany.

Berlin's Senate Department for Home Affairs and Sport informed Sky Sports earlier this year that the city did not pitch to become a host, while Hamburg's Ministry of the Interior and Sports admitted there was uncertainty over the city's ability to meet the NFL's immediate requirements.

"Regular-season games are a key part of continuing the development of our German fan base by creating more excitement for the sport and more connectivity with fans and communities,” said NFL head of Europe and UK Brett Gosper.

"The strong interest we have received from German cities underlines what a fantastic opportunity this is for a host, ranging from the significant economic benefits and global exposure to the chance to become a hub for the growth of the NFL’s fan engagement, community and grassroots activities."

The multi-functional Merkur Spiel-Arena, currently home to 2. Bundesliga side Fortuna Dusseldorf, has a 54,600 capacity and previously served as the Rhein Fire's home stadium as well as hosting several Wladimir Klitschko fights.

The Waldstadion in Frankfurt can hold 51,500 fans for league football matches as the home of Eintracht Frankfurt, and 48,000 for American Football events having been the home stadium for NFL Europa's Frankfurt Galaxy as well as hosting three World Bowls and, since 2008, the German Bowl.

Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena is meanwhile the second-largest stadium in Germany with a capacity of 75,000 just behind Borussia Dortmund's 81,365-seater Westfalenstadion.

The NFL is due to play its 30th game in London since 2007 when the Jacksonville Jaguars face the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, October 17.

Earlier this year the league reaffirmed its commitment to enhancing its international market by ruling that all 32 franchises will play internationally at least once every eight years from 2022 onwards. It was also stated that there will be at least four international games played every season starting in 2022.

Germany hosted five preseason games between 1990 and 1994 and were represented by the Hamburg Sea Devils, Fire, Berlin Thunder, Cologne Centurions and Galaxy in the former World League of American Football/NFL Europe/NFL Europa at various stages between 1991 and 2007, during which the five teams averaged 21,690 fans in attendance between them.

New England Patriots fullback Jakob Johnson is among the most notable German-born players across the league, while Sebastian Vollmer won the Super Bowl on two occasions while protecting Tom Brady in Foxborough. The likes of Moritz Boehringer, Christopher Ezeala, David Bada, Mark Nzeocha, Aaron Donkor and Moubarak Djeri have all also appeared on NFL rosters after coming through the International Player Pathway Program, and Hero Kanu of Bavaria is one of the most coveted names in college recruiting this year following his move over to America.

Rookie Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St Brown and brother Equanimeous St. Brown, a receiver for the Green Bay Packers, can both also speak fluent German thanks to their mother Miriam Brown, who is from Leverkusen.

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