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‘We have to thread the needle’: How the NFL is preparing for its international games in London and Frankfurt

TVBEurope hears from the NFL about the planning for this year's International Games at Wembley, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and Frankfurt Stadium

The National Football League has announced the dates and locations for the five international games to be played in 2023 across London, UK and Frankfurt, Germany.

The Jacksonville Jaguars will kick off the 2023 NFL International Games on Sunday, October 1st, as they play the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium, in what will be their 10th regular season home game in London.

Two other matches will be staged in London at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, before the European focus switches to Germany, with the NFL playing two games in Frankfurt. All five matches kick off at 9.30am Eastern (2.30pm BST/3,30pm CEST).

Some of the games will take place during the FIFA international breaks, but organisers will have to deal with broadcasts of both Premier League and Bundesliga football games during the European leg.

NFL’s international team works with the venues to ensure infrastructure is in place to deliver the broadcast back to the United States, Onnie Bose, vice president, broadcasting at NFL tells TVBEurope. “We have to thread a needle between the requirements of those stadiums and the NFL,” he adds.

“At the Tottenham stadium, we’ve got windows that we can work with. Those games fall into those very specific weeks because we’re working around and scheduling around the obligations that the stadiums have, whether it’s for the Premier League or the Bundesliga.”

Bose adds that the NFL has “well-established” relationships in Europe, having begun staging games at Wembley Stadium in 2007, and at Tottenham for the last four/five years. “A lot of that translates over to producing in Germany,” he adds. “We try to work with the local resources and each of our domestic partners has international relationships and international production capabilities as well. It’s a lot of planning. We’ve been on the ground in Frankfurt for a few months now. It’s something that we’ve tackled in several different venues over in Europe and are confident in our ability to execute.”

Hans Schroeder,  executive vice president and chief operating officer of NFL Media, added that the organisation has a “great relationship” with the Premier League’s broadcaster, Sky Sports, especially as the NFL matches tend to take place before the traditional 2pm Sunday Premier League games. “When we’ve played in the early windows, it’s afforded us to get even broader distribution for our games and get over-the-air coverage with another partner locally,” he explains.

“We also love to have that opportunity to get a game into an even bigger distribution footprint. Historically that was always an added benefit of getting to an earlier window on Sunday.”