In March, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the first team to be designated to play a regular-season NFL game in Germany. As the chairman of the NFL's International Committee, Buccaneers Owner/Co-Chairman Joel Glazer understands the importance and opportunity of spreading the reach of American football across the globe. That it is the Buccaneers who will be making the first foray into another country hungry for the sport is a point of pride.
"We're excited," said Glazer on Monday during the NFL Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida. "We're the first team ever to play in Germany. It's new ground for the National Football League; there's a big international initiative."
The opponent, date and time of the Buccaneers' game in Munich in the 2022 season will be announced around the time of the NFL's full schedule release, but the game itself is historic. The NFL has established a new international program that will have ever team play outside of the United States over the next eight years. The majority of those games will be played in London and Mexico City, but there will be one game each season over the next four years in Germany (two each in Munich and Frankfurt) and the league may look to expand to other parts of the globe. The international initiative includes the establishment of International Home Marketing Areas (IHMAs) that involves 26 teams and eight different countries.
Some of those IHMAs are in countries that don't yet have plans for NFL games, such as Brazil and China, but that could change in the future. At the moment, the next frontier is Germany, and that's an exciting prospect for both the Buccaneers and the NFL as a whole. And in the Bucs' case, it's a chance to blaze a new trail once again. Not long after becoming the first team ever to play in and/or win a Super Bowl in its own home stadium, the Bucs are going to be introducing the sport, live, to a brand new audience.
"We are very much looking forward to it, to be the first team to play in Germany," said Glazer. "It's not often in the National Football League you get to be the first at a lot of things. But to be the first team to win a Super Bowl in your home stadium and then the year after, or two years after, [be the] first team to play in Germany…I know people in our organization are excited. I hear from our fans that they're excited. I know in Germany how excited they are. There's a huge NFL fanbase in Germany that is just dying and craving to see NFL football live, and we're thrilled to be the first."