MUNICH, Germany — Every NFL team has pledged to play at least one game in Europe every eight years. In 2022, the Buccaneers will play the first ever regular season game in Germany. Munich is set to host a booming market when it comes to fan interest.
“The TV numbers were going up pretty steeply for the NFL. The merchandising numbers were going up. The meta numbers were going up,” said Alexander Steinforth, NFL general manager for Germany. “Everyone was really excited about the German market. In terms of fan engagement, in terms of fandom, it’s actually number one or two in the world. So that was the point of start. That was the starting point to bring a game on A to Germany.”
Germany hosted pre-season games and had multiple teams during the NFL Europe and World League run. England have hosted regular season NFL games since 2007, and fans know these are on a different level.
“Ten, fifteen percent of the people attending the games in London were actually from Germany,” Steinforth said. “So a lot of interest in watching a real NFL regular season game. That’s why everyone’s so excited now.”
Steinforth, a former Manchester United and German Bundesliga football executive, said the Bucs had an aggressive marketing plan that would involve more German fans in the game than they could only watch on TV.
Related: Bucs to play regular season game in Germany for first time in NFL history
“For the past two years they’ve just been following the sport outside of Germany, without having a proper physical connection to what’s going on there in the United States,” he added. “I think it’s a very smart move by the Bucs to go to Germany.
The Buc’s opponent and playing time will be announced in May. The Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots were the other three franchises granted marketing rights in Germany.