LONDON — The NFL selected the cities Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich on Tuesday to enter a final bidding stage to host a regular-season game in Germany.
Next season is the target for Germany to host its first game, though it could also debut in 2023 because of potential scheduling conflicts with soccer’s World Cup, which begins next November in Qatar.
“After an initial period in which expressions of interest were received from multiple cities, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich have been invited to proceed to the ‘candidate phase’ of the process,” the league said in a statement. “Those cities will now participate in deeper conversations about staging games in Germany.”
Germany has a strong and growing NFL fan base and one of the world’s largest economies, making the country a logical target for a league with visions of worldwide growth.
“I hope we’ll see a game in Germany in 2022. We’re on a course for that to happen,” Brett Gosper, NFL Head of Europe and UK, said Tuesday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Along with the potential conflict with the World Cup, “there might be other obstacles that emerge during this process,” Gosper said. “So we’re cautious to say we’re definitely in 2022, but it certainly won’t be later than 2023.”
The decisions on a German city and date for a game are expected to be announced at the Super Bowl in February, Gosper said. A host city recommendation must be approved by NFL team owners.
France, Spain and “the Nordics” are also in the league’s longer-term sights to host games, Gosper told The Associated Press last week.
Tuesday’s announcement comes during the NFL’s return to London after a one-year hiatus because of the pandemic. The Atlanta Falcons beat the New York Jets 27-20 on Sunday at Tottenham, which will also stage the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins this Sunday.
Representatives of the three cities will come to Sunday’s game as part of an observer program.
Germany’s largest city was not among the eight that formally bid after the NFL announced its intentions in June.
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“Berlin decided not to show an expression of interest,” Gosper said. “It seems that they were not keen to engage in a competition, so that was their choice.”
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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports
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