NFL and DFL sign collaboration agreement

The National Football League (NFL) and the German Football League authorities (DFL) are entering into a cooperation agreement.

Donata Hopfen, Chairwoman of the DFL Executive Board, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell have signed an agreement which will enable an exchange between both organisations. 

The agreement follows a successful cooperation in recent years, at the beginning of the Corona pandemic in 2021. Bayern Munich cooperated with Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers to stage games at the Allianz Arena stadium. 

The agreement between the two sporting associations includes cooperation in the areas of production, broadcasting and programme development, digital innovation and marketing. 

Goodell commented: “Our first regular season game in Germany this autumn is an opportunity to work with and learn from one of the most successful sports leagues in the world.”

With the cooperation, the DFL is also pursuing the goal of consistently increasing the global popularity of the Bundesliga. The NFL in turn sees Germany as a future market in which the league wants to gain a further foothold. 

The first regular-season game on German soil is expected to make a major contribution to this. On 13 November, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by Tom Brady, will face Seattle Seahawks at Munich’s Allianz Arena

Under the agreement, Germany will host one regular season NFL game in each of the next four years, alternating between Munich and Frankfurt.

“The DFL has always worked openly and cooperatively with leagues and organisations around the world to promote the development of sport worldwide,” said DFL Chief Executive Hopfen. “We look forward to working closely with our colleagues from the NFL on a variety of issues and gaining new insights, particularly with regard to sports in the US.”

US Sports analyst and former DW presenter Kai Dambach welcomed the cooperation cautiously: “NFL is increasingly becoming more popular in Germany, the games in recent seasons have been sold out and top NFL games are televised. The NFL are one of the most successful sports promoters in the world and DFL can gain insights into how this has been achieved which can benefit both parties, however it is not yet clear what benefit the Bundesliga will be gaining in the US in concrete terms.”

The Bundesliga has had a representative office in New York since 2018, and regular matches of teams including Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have been played in the off-season in USA in recent years. 

Bayern Munich visited the United States in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019. BVB have also played regularly in USA in recent years. In 2019, 40,000 spectators attended the club’s friendly against Liverpool at the South Bend stadium in Indiana. The club also have an academy, the BVB International Academy with bases across the US.

For the first time this summer, a 2. Bundesliga team, SC Paderborn, played a match in the United States. Although a 4-3 loss to MLS side Minnesota United, the fixture was attended by an impressive crowd of over 30,000. 

Bundesliga matches are also shown live across the US on ESPN+.

Ben McFadyean

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