KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If it’s up to the Kansas City Chiefs, one of next season’s nine home games will be played in Germany.
“I hope so,” Chiefs President Mark Donovan said Monday during a press conference to open training camp at Missouri Western in St. Joseph. “That’s our goal.”
There was speculation that the Chiefs might be a tantalizing “road” opponent for the NFL as it continues to ramp up its international presence with more games in Europe.
Kansas City is one of four NFL teams along with Carolina, New England and Tampa Bay with marketing rights in Germany.
“Every team eventually is going to go international and every team is going to give up a home game,” Donovan said, explaining that was an impetus behind the owners’ push to expand the regular season to 17 games last year.
The Chiefs have played two regular-season games overseas — a 45-10 win against Detroit in London during the 2015 season and a 24-17 win against the Los Angeles Chargers in Mexico City during the 2019 season.
Kansas City hopes to add Germany to the list in 2023.
“If you look at where we are in Germany and the investments that we’re making in Germany, it’s a much richer opportunity for us,” Donovan said.
After a targeting campaign to boost engagement with the Chiefs brand, Kansas City is the fifth-most popular team in Germany, Donovan said.
The Chiefs are toward the middle of the pack in terms of popularity in Mexico, so the organization believes the timing is right to continue building its presence in Germany.
“We’ve put a concerted effort in and we’ve seen the benefits of that concerted effort,” Donovan said. “We think the opportunity is enormous.”
In the Chiefs’ view, the window is open to grow its business interests in Germany, but getting a game there as soon as possible is central to that plan to continue building the team’s footprint in Europe.
“We want to get there sooner rather than later just to activate those fans and get more fans interested,” Donovan said. “There may be more opportunity to grow faster there than Mexico.”
The Hunt family, which owns FC Dallas of Major League Soccer, already has a partnership with German Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich.
“Bayern Munich is one of the most valuable brands in sports and they are dominant in Germany,” Donovan said.
The Chiefs, who also are owned by the Hunt family, have leveraged that pre-existing business relationship as they ramp up marketing efforts in Germany, including the creation of an advisory board with more than a half-dozen business executives.
“They were excited to be part of this,” Donovan said. “They were excited to be on board with us as we expanded into Germany. I can tell you that the opportunity there and in Mexico to continue to globalize this sport and globalize our brand is really exciting. It’s something we’re pursuing really aggressively.”
Eight other NFL teams — Arizona, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh and San Francisco — have marketing rights in Mexico.