The time has arrived for German and European NFL fans. While we have been aware for months about the potential expansion of the NFL overseas, today it becomes a little closer to reality. The New England Patriots have selected Germany as their preferred location for International Marketing Rights for the NFL starting in 2022.
The Patriots have the largest fanbase in Germany and the market is growing each season at an alarming rate, with games shown on Ran & ProSieben each week. Former Patriot Sebastian Vollmer is working closely with the National Football League on the Germany game and was in attendance at the 2021 London Games. Currently, the Patriots have Jakob Johnson in their ranks. Jakob, who hails from Stuttgart, took part in the International Player Pathway Program and was signed by the Patriots in 2019. On Tuesday, Robert Kraft surprised Jakob at a press conference in Massachusetts. “Years ago, I remember a couple of coaches talking about Jakob and saying he’s not very good,” Kraft said. “ Look where he is today. Look what he has done. He’s worked hard. He’s really gotten the respect of everyone. …I don’t think anyone would believe that he’s come to the point he’s come today where I think he’s one of the best fullbacks in the NFL.”
The international rights in Germany for the New England Patriots will start in 2022, making the country part of the 'home marketing area' for the team. This is a substantial step for the franchise with the eventual hope that the team will play a game in Germany in the future. The move allows the Patriots to host watch parties in Germany. It gives the team the opportunity to host football camps in the area. Commercially, it allows the Patriots the opportunity to partner with German sponsors and brands. The team will also potentially open an office in Germany.
The Chiefs, Buccaneers and Panthers have also selected Germany as a home market.
One would hope and expect that 2022 will see the launch of the Germany Game for the NFL. If this is to happen, an announcement of a host city could come around the time of the Super Bowl in Los Angeles in February. One thing is for sure - the NFL is coming to Germany sooner rather than later.