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NFL, Bundesliga Announce Partnership to Increase Business in Germany, U.S.

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 15, 2022

Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The NFL and the German Bundesliga announced Thursday they have widened their partnership.

NFL Deutschland @NFLDeutschland

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bundesliga?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bundesliga</a> 🀝 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFL</a> = ✍️<br><br>Done deal: Wir haben eine Partnerschaft unterzeichnet und arbeiten zukΓΌnftig noch enger zusammen! πŸ’ͺ⚽️🏈 <a href="https://twitter.com/Bundesliga_DE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Bundesliga_DE</a> <a href="https://t.co/UJBTxhRs2m">pic.twitter.com/UJBTxhRs2m</a>

The move comes after the NFL scheduled its first regular-season game in Germany. The Seattle Seahawks will face off with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 13.

"Our first regular season game in Germany this fall also presents an opportunity to work with and learn from some of the most successful sports leagues around the world," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, per Reuters. "The Bundesliga has long been regarded as the leading league in Germany and one of the finest throughout Europe.

"We look forward to collaborating with the DFL in a process that we believe will be mutually beneficial."

The NFL has been staging games in London and Mexico City for years as part of its International Series.

The league announced in February it was expanding the series to Germany for the next four years. The Seahawks and Buccaneers will play at Allianz Arena, home to Bayern Munich, in November. The venue will host another game within the four-year period, and Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt will stage the other two.

Although the NFL hasn't hit a point of market saturation in the United States, there's only so much more the league can do to expand its reach at home. The International Series gives the NFL a way to widen its foothold abroad.

Not only will that pad the league's already substantial bank account, it might also widen the talent pool available to teams. The NBA has shown the way forward in that regard.

The Bundesliga, meanwhile, has been trying to break into the U.S. market for years.

Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn described the United States as "a very interesting soccer market" when speaking with Sports Business Journal's Tyler Everett in July.

"It’s growing, more and more young people are playing soccer and we already have a cooperation with FC Dallas," he said. "... I’m very surprised when I look at the valuations of the clubs in MLS, they’re very high valuations. I think it’s working, I think the football industry can develop."

Reuters cited "production, broadcast and programming, digital innovation and marketing" as the areas in which the NFL and Bundesliga will work together. For now, it's still a little unclear what the partnership will mean in tangible terms.

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