Carolina Panthers will play in Munich in 2024
Pack your bags – the Carolina Panthers are heading to Germany.
Driving the news: The team will play in Munich during the 2024 season at Allianz Arena, home of German soccer team FC Bayern Munich. The date, opponent and ticket details will be announced in the coming months.
Catch up quick: The Panthers were awarded marketing rights to Germany as part of the NFL’s global markets program (GMP) in December 2021. GMP allows a team to sign corporate sponsors, sell team merchandise and stage events for fan engagement like they would in their home market, AP reported.
- The program includes 19 teams with rights in 10 countries.
- The goal is to build a bigger international footprint — not just for the Panthers, but for the league.
Why it matters: The Panthers struggled in 2023, going 2-15 for one of the worst seasons in franchise history. They’ll head to Germany with a new head coach and a new general manager. But the team’s performance stateside hasn’t impacted their reception in Germany, Sean Phaler, Panthers director of digital marketing, tells Axios.
By the numbers: Phaler has been to Germany about 12 times since September 2022. The process has been about turning casual NFL fans there into Panthers fans, Phaler tells Axios.
- This includes sending Panthers legends like Steve Smith, Luke Kuechly and Mike Rucker, to Germany to engage with fans.
- Smith hosted an NFL watch party and corn hole tournament in Frankfurt in November. Frankfurt hosted two NFL games last fall.
- The Panthers have also hosted football clinics in Germany and sent Sir Purr and the TopCats to U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden for youth football and cheer clinics.
- Punter Johnny Hekker announced the team’s selection of fourth-round draft pick Chandler Zavala, a guard out of NC State, from Römerburg last spring.
Flashback: The Panthers played their first international game in London in 2019. Carolina won 37-26. They’re undefeated (1-0) abroad.
What they’re saying: “We are excited to deepen our relationships with our German fans, engage with our partners and continue to grow our brand globally,” Panthers owner David Tepper said in a statement.
Of note: Charlotte Douglas International Airport has direct flights to Munich via American Airlines and Lufthansa.
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