FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts – As part of the National Football League's International Home Marketing Area (HMA) initiative, the New England Patriots submitted a proposal and were awarded Germany as their international home market. For at least the next five years, this program will allow the Patriots opportunities for in-person and digital marketing, corporate sponsorship sales, fan events, activations, merchandise sales and co-marketing relationships with other sports and entertainment properties in Germany.
"When it comes to international markets, Germany has always had the most passionate fan base for American football," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "We have worked hard to grow our global fan base since I bought the Patriots in 1994 and we have had the good fortune of exponential growth in Germany since drafting Sebastian Vollmer in 2009, a German native who enjoyed an 8-year Patriots career and retired a two-time Super Bowl champion. Our popularity has continued to grow with the addition of Jakob Johnson in 2019. With this new NFL initiative, we are eager to engage with fans in Germany in new and creative ways and can't wait to play a game there."
The Patriots were the first NFL team to provide German language content to fans in the region, launching Twitter and Instagram accounts and a landing page on Patriots.com in 2017. In the years since, the team has brought German fans to regular season and playoff games at Gillette Stadium via sweepstakes, streamed preseason games live to Germany with Sebastian Vollmer and Markus Kuhn, and collaborated with German broadcasters on the first regular season live broadcast from the United States to Germany. The team also launched a longform video series in German featuring Vollmer and Jakob Johnson, showing fans a behind-the-scenes look at team operations, in addition to hosting monthly Q&As with fans and Vollmer.
Starting in 2022, the team will be allowed to work with and through strategic partners to develop commercial opportunities in Germany. Hosting watch parties for Patriots games, conducting football camps, partnering with German sponsors and organizing goodwill ambassador tours with Patriots players are all allowed under the HMA program and will be among the many opportunities the Patriots will begin pursuing starting in January. To pave the way, the Patriots have engaged Boston-based Globalization Partners, a leading global employment platform, to recruit and hire staff to be headquartered in Germany.
"We are proud to partner with Kraft Sports + Entertainment and the New England Patriots as they grow their business internationally and build a presence in Germany," said Jess Dodge, Chief Growth Officer, Globalization Partners. "Globalization Partners is positioned uniquely to help the Patriots establish a team in Germany in a fast, efficient and compliant way via our automated global employment platform. We are excited that their fans in Germany will benefit from this fast entrance into the market."
All 32 NFL clubs were able to submit proposals for the eligible country or countries they desired. Other home market countries included Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico and the U.K. The process required teams to detail a 5-year business plan for each country. Already a fan favorite in Germany, with the highest number of followers of any NFL club on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, the Patriots chose Germany as the International HMA to focus on in 2022.
Over the next several months, the Patriots will announce new initiatives and events planned for Germany. To keep up to date with those announcements, sign up for the Patriots Deutschland Newsletter.