NFL Wants to Expand Schedule to Play in Another Foreign Country

by Suzanne Halliburton
Photo by Martin Leitch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL is exploring whether to add to its current schedule of international games. And that may point to playing a game in Germany as soon as next year.

That’s all according to Chris Halpin, the NFL’s vice president for chief stratgy-growth, told the outlet that more international games are coming to America’s brand of football.

“Maybe four games in London—two from the inventory of games teams voted on this year, maybe two with teams [NFL teams] volunteering for games there,” Halpin said. “And maybe one in Germany and one in Mexico.”

If Halpin’s prediction is correct, that’ll mean six games. That’s one additional game. The NFL views Germany as a growing market, thus the reason for wanting to play there. Halpin said a game in Germany could be on the schedule in either 2022 or 2023.

Why Germany? It makes big financial sense. TV ratings suggest there’s lots of interest in America’s version of football. Earlier this year, about 2.2 million people in Germany watched Tom Brady and Tampa Bay silence Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City in the Super Bowl. Keep in mind, the Super Bowl was played after midnight in Europe.

ProFootball Talk said the NFL likely would put the game in Munich at Allanz Stadium. That stadium hold roughly 70,000 people. It’s the home of the soccer team Bayern Munich. Other potential host cities include Berlin, Frankfurt and the Cologne/Dusseldorf metro area.

The NFL has seen a jump in international subscriptions to its NFL GamePass. The numbers are up by 30 percent.

Green Bay Packers Are Only NFL Team Not to Play International Game

The NFL canceled its international games last season because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Last month, the NFL announced that two games will be played at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Atlanta Falcons will play the New York Jets there, Oct. 10. A week later, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be the home team in London in a game with the Miami Dolphins.

Starting next year, the NFL will play at least four international games a season. It’ll translate into every NFL team playing host to an international game every eight seasons.

The NFL likes London. The league has placed 28 games there at three different venues. The Green Bay Packers are the only team in the league to have not played an international game.

Meanwhile, Mexico City has seen huge attendance numbers for some of its games. A preseason exhibition game between the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers in 1994 drew a crowd of 112,376 fans. The Cowboys and New England Patriots played in front of a crowd of 106,424 for an exhibition game there in 1998. The Mexico City venue is Azteca Stadium.