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NFL begins looking for a place to play games in Germany

Mike Florio and Chris Simms unpack the NFL and NFLPA’s move to fund $1 million in research for alternative pain relief and assess why this could be a step in the right direction for the league.

The NFL wants to play regular-season games in Germany. The NFL has commenced the process of looking for a place to play regular-season games in Germany.

The league announced on Wednesday that it has commenced the process of identifying a partner city for German games.

“This process is designed to explore potential local partnerships, stadium suitability and game logistics,” NFL Head of UK and Europe Brett Gosper said in a press release. “We need engaged and motivated host partners that span the public sector, venue, sports, community and major event sphere and can help us deliver a high-impact event and a long-term partnership. Identifying a preferred host city is a key step in bringing regular-season NFL games to our millions of German fans.”

It’s an unusual step, given the NFL’s undeniable resources, relationships, and global connections. Does it really need to broadcast its plans publicly?

Maybe it does. Maybe the goal is to spark a competition among Berlin and Hamburg, between Munich and Stuttgart. Between Düsseldorf and Wuppertal.

The announcement could create local buzz, which in turn could lead to cities trying to box each other out to become the annual location of an NFL regular-season game. Which could lead to the best possible financial terms for the league, when the time comes to stage one or more annual games in Germany.

The league’s now-defunct minor league went by final names but was known as NFL Europa when it shut down 14 years ago. In its final season, five of the six teams were located in Germany: the Berlin Thunder, the Frankfurt Galaxy, the Hamburg Sea Devils, the Rhein Fire, and the Cologne Centurions.

In the final World Bowl game, the Sea Devils beat the Galaxy in Frankfurt, before a crowd of 48,125. If the NFL plays games in Germany, it surely will be hoping for a larger crowd than that.