SA mother has already booked her hotel room in Munich for November, says Aaron Donkor. That is when the National Football League (NFL) will stop for the first time ever with one of their regular season games in Germany and – so much can already be said today – will ensure a real state of emergency. Blessed is the one who provides the necessary overnight accommodation in good time.
Donkor, 26 years old, grew up in Göttingen, Lower Saxony, is a professional footballer and plays for the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL. Together with the German-American Amon-Ra St. Brown, he came to his homeland this week to sign autographs, shake hands, pose for photos and bang the drum for the upcoming big event in autumn, the the many fans in this country had had to wait many years.
NFL four times in Germany
As part of its internationalization campaign, the American league is rewarding the continuously increasing interest in the NFL in Germany with four games of the season on German soil in the next four years: two in Munich, two in Frankfurt. And for the big premiere this year, the NFL donated a bonus: none other than Tom Brady, the most successful football player ever, will play with his team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in the arena of the Bundesliga soccer club FC Bayern Munich and meet the Seahawks from the American Pacific coast there.
The NFL did not know that Brady, well, would resign from his retirement announced in early February just 40 days later when the pairing was announced, she claims, but she gratefully accepted the gift from the star quarterback.
With the words “Tom Brady will come”, the American star presenter Scott Hanson greeted the 500 fans who came to a Frankfurt cinema on Thursday evening (cost: 10 euros) to see Donkor and St. Brown and also Hanson himself, who is an icon of American NFL television.
That the league, where the presenter is employed, sent its TV flagship alongside the two professionals on a trip to Germany – Donkor has been fighting for a squad place in Seattle, St. Brown, son of an American father and a German mother, born in America, for a year and grew up playing for the Detroit Lions – shows how serious the league is with its performances in what is probably the strongest football market in Europe after Great Britain.
That would hardly have been necessary. Just a few minutes after ticket sales for this year’s game in Munich began, the entire available contingent was sold out. Initially, only so-called “hospitality tickets” were sold, meaning: luxury tickets with the best view, the best food and the best drinks (cost: 449 euros and up). The regular tickets will not be issued until mid-July (cost: from 62.50 euros, “restricted view” is free according to the seat category overview; those who do not want this “luxury” pay from 75 to 155 euros), they too should be sold out in no time.
Because: The NFL claims that more than 500,000 fans are interested in a ticket for the game in Munich. In general, the enthusiasm for the glossy product of American football is probably higher than ever in this country. Ratings, merch sales and social media attention all speak for themselves. “I never would have thought that football would be so big in Germany,” said St. Brown, who described the current football boom outside the USA as “absolutely crazy”. And Donkor added: “I think this is just the beginning.”
The fact that only 500 instead of the targeted 600 fans who would have fit in the hall came to Frankfurt should therefore be seen as an incentive for the optimization-driven NFL, even though the event was scheduled at relatively short notice. With her campaign in Germany, the advertising appearances and the season games, she is mainly concerned with one thing, and moderator Hanson admitted that openly in the end: “The NFL loves money.”