Seattle Seahawks fan Lukas Spiess was shocked by what he noticed during a soccer game in Stuttgart a few weeks ago.
“This elderly gentleman a few rows ahead of me was playing fantasy football on his phone,” said Spiess, chairman of Germany’s Sea Hawkers fan club. “It’s not something I expected.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Seahawks at Allianz Arena in Munich on Sunday in the NFL’s first ever regular season game in Germany. Over the next three seasons, Munich will host another and Frankfurt two.
More broadly, Germany has now overtaken Great Britain as the biggest NFL market in Europe.
“Game Pass has more subscribers, consumer products sell more in Germany than in the UK, the Madden video game sells more, TV rights are comparative,” said Brett Gosper, NFL manager for UK and Europe, to The Associated Press in an interview.
The UK and Germany each have 3.3 million NFL ‘avid fans’ in a rapidly growing category for both, but Germany has slightly more ‘casual’ fans – 17 million , said Gosper. London has hosted regular season matches since 2007.
Alexander Steinforth, NFL general manager for Germany, admitted it was “super helpful” to have seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady headlining the opening game of the league. See the article : Jerry Jones reveals his reason for the $ 2.4 million Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Scandal Settlement. league in Germany.
But he said interest in the league outweighs any star.
“The excitement is so great that you could almost send any team to play in Germany and people would love to watch the game,” Steinforth said.
The online queue when tickets went on sale in July reached 770,000, although it’s unclear if some were bots or if that number were on devices. Either way, demand was more than double that of London games, which usually sell out quickly.
“I was trying out three different devices,” said Spiess, who wrote off but then landed tickets through a friend in Seattle. “A lot of people are desperate to find a few remaining tickets.”
Many German fans come to Munich even without tickets, he said, “to get the most out of the experience”.
The Allianz Arena, home of Bayern Munich football club, can accommodate 75,000 fans.
The Bucs are one of four teams that have international marketing rights in Germany. The others are the Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots. To see also : A doctor has been convicted of sending ‘sexually motivated’ messages to a high school student in California. This means they can cultivate fans and business deals in the country.
The Bucs will get a boost with accommodation, but the other three are also hosting events in Munich this week, to attract as many “undecided” fans as possible.
“Not only is it a big pool, but the demographics of that pool are very valuable,” Chiefs president Mark Donovan said, citing the 18-34 age bracket. “A lot of this demo has already indicated a desire to get involved in the NFL. They follow the NFL one way or another — players, teams, league — and they’re undecided.
The NFL and Bundesliga recently agreed to collaborate on fan acquisition and broadcast technology. Teams with country rights can work with individual clubs, as the Panthers have done by co-hosting a watch party with Eintracht Frankfurt.
Germans got a taste of football when American troops stationed here staged games in the 1970s. To see also : Former NFL Cheerleaders Join Calls to Release Washington Football Team’s Full Investigation. The German Football League was launched in 1979, and the country has a football-style club system that develops young players.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said a preseason game in August 1990 marked a turning point. The Chiefs faced the Los Angeles Rams at the Olympic Stadium in West Berlin after the fall of the Berlin Wall and just before reunification.
Media reported there were 55,000 fans, many of whom didn’t understand the game but liked the American aspects like tailgating, cheerleading, and Frisbee chasing dogs.
“It really ignited our passion to say that we really believe we can bring more football here to Europe,” Goodell told a fan forum in London last month.
The first version of NFL Europe launched the following spring.
Meanwhile, the European Football League recently completed its second season, with seven of its 12 teams in Germany ahead of expansion in 2023. The NFL allowed the new league to use team names from then of NFL Europe.