As early as the 2022 season
After taking a one-year break for the pandemic, the National Football League will be returning to playing games overseas this coming season, with a pair of games slated for the United Kingdom. While the league has played in the UK and Mexico over the years, there is apparently a push for another country to get involved in the festivities as well.
In his weekly column for NBC Sports, Peter King is reporting that the league is “bullish” on playing at least one game in Germany each year, something that could happen as early as the 2022 or 2023 NFL season. This makes sense for the league, as King points out that Germany is the fourth-largest economy in the world and has a rapidly expanding NFL fan base. It would also be much easier, logistically, for the league to work games in Germany into the schedule, as the time differences and length of travel are more easily mitigated than they would be for somewhere like Japan or some other countries.
This could potentially present another opportunity for the Minnesota Vikings to play in front of overseas fans. They have done so twice since the NFL started its International Series. They served as the home team in a game at Wembley Stadium in 2013 where they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, and as the visiting team in 2017 when they defeated the Cleveland Browns at Twickenham Stadium.
If the league were to play a game in Germany, King reports that it would likely take place at the Allianz Arena, the home of the Bayern Munich soccer club. The stadium seats around 70,000 and apparently has just about everything necessary for hosting an NFL game already in place.
I know that a lot of fans don’t particularly care for the overseas games, particularly season ticket holders, but I’ve always thought it was a nice addition to the schedule. Sure, we have to get up early to watch the game take place. . .if I remember right, kickoff for the 2017 game for those of us on the West Coast was either 5 or 6 AM. . .but it’s definitely something different.
We’ll see if this actually comes to fruition or not, but the NFL does appear to want to expand its overseas appeal by playing games in at least one other market. What do you think of that idea?