Grand opening of the 2023 NFL Frankfurt Games (2024)

03.11.2023

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Eintracht Frankfurt, the City of Frankfurt and the NFL officially kicked off the 2023 NFL Frankfurt Games with a glamorous gala at the Palais Thurn und Taxis.

Grand opening of the 2023 NFL Frankfurt Games (1)

Axel Hellmann, Mike Josef and Roger Goodell.

The 2023 NFL Frankfurt Games are officially open. Two hundred and fifty guests from the worlds of sport, politics and the media, including Eintracht stars Laura Freigang, Sophia Kleinherne and Sebastian Rode, along with representatives of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins, celebrated the start of the first NFL games in the central German city on Friday evening, in the Palais Thurn und Taxis. The gala at the heart of Europe further underscored the status of the city of Frankfurt as the capital of German football.

Grand opening of the 2023 NFL Frankfurt Games (2)

CEO Axel Hellmann with Laura Freigang (l.) and Sophia Kleinherne (r.).

“Why is the NFL coming to Frankfurt?“ asked host Florian Ambrosius to get proceedings under way, before going on to answer the question himself – it is because of the people present in the room. According to Frankfurt’s mayor Mike Josef, in addition to the productive partnerships with the NFL, Eintracht Frankfurt, the US Consulate General and the local football clubs, it is also about Frankfurt’s status as a tradition football hotbed. “It’s what is unique about Frankfurt and what makes our city what it is,” he said.

We’ve poured our heart and soul into this as a city,

Mike Josef

Back when he was responsible for sport, the current mayor dreamt of bringing the NFL to Frankfurt. “We’ve poured our heart and soul into this as a city,” Josef explained. “What makes it even more significant is the fact that we’re here today to celebrate not one, but two matches in Frankfurt. It’s an honour for us, we’re delighted, and my entire team and I are proud on behalf of the City of Frankfurt.”

Grand opening of the 2023 NFL Frankfurt Games (3)

Mike Josef, mayor of the City of Frankfurt.

“Thank you very much for your hospitality, Frankfurt,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, referring to both the city and to its largest club, Eintracht Frankfurt. “On a scale from one to ten, you get full marks, ten points – providing you can give us even better weather for Sunday!” He was quick to point out that he was joking and even in the event of rain, the city would still get a perfect score.

That Goodell and the NFL feel so at home in Frankfurt is not solely down to the efforts of the city and the club to host the league’s second and third ever regular-season games in Germany. Philip Holzer, chairman of the supervisory board of Eintracht Frankfurt, had expressed the hope that this could be just the beginning of a long-term partnership, and Goodell seemed to be open to this idea.

NFL receives Transatlantic Partnership Award from Am Cham Germany

“We are committed to Germany. We want to bring more NFL here. We want to invest in this community and be a partner,” the NFL commissioner said, with appreciation for the value of this partnership clear on both sides.

As part of the gala dinner, the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany (AmCham Germany) presented their 32nd Transatlantic Partnership Award to the National Football League. Commissioner Goodell was happy to accept the award on behalf of the NFL.

Grand opening of the 2023 NFL Frankfurt Games (4)

“We are proud to present the 32nd Transatlantic Partnership Award to the National Football League (NFL) tonight,” said Simone Menne, president of AmCham Germany. “This award acknowledges the influential role of the NFL in bringing people together through the uniting power of sport and the common values that underline our transatlantic cooperation.”

Bundesliga and NFL a perfect match

David Knower, vice-president of AmCham Germany and co-chairman of the Rhine-Main regional chapter, acknowledged the efforts of the NFL, the City of Frankfurt and Eintracht Frankfurt to entrench football even more firmly at the heart of Europe. “We are delighted that the NFL has scored a touchdown in Germany,” he said in his speech of thanks.

Grand opening of the 2023 NFL Frankfurt Games (5)

To conclude the official part of the evening, the host led a discussion in which both Eintracht CEO Axel Hellman and Peter O’Reilly, Executive Vice President Club Business, International & League Events at the NFL, emphasised the fact that football in Germany and the NFL can learn from one another. The passion of the German fans and the high entertainment levels of the NFL are a “perfect match” according to Hellmann. “We want to work with the best organisations,” added O’Reilly, “and that includes Eintracht and the Bundesliga.”

Grand opening of the 2023 NFL Frankfurt Games (2024)

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