American Football – Made In Germany
At a spectacular press event hosted by Jan Köppen at Frankfurt Stadium, the site of this year’s “Germany Games,” last Friday, RTL Deutschland unveiled plans for its first season as the NFL’s exclusive free TV partner.
At the official press event last Friday, RTL Deutschland already revealed the dimensions the company is thinking in for its upcoming coverage of the U.S. National Football League (NFL) on German TV: “big” in every sense of the word. The Frankfurt stadium, the site of this year’s “Germany Games,” served as the venue for the event, where host Jan Köppen received representatives of the media and fan clubs, and which RTL streamed to the Internet in professional TV show quality. Stephan Schmitter, Chief Content Officer of RTL Deutschland, announced a media package that is unique in scope and variety, and even the 15 presenters were driven up in an XXL stretch limousine. “This will be a completely new dimension. We are planning nothing less than a new major Sunday evening family event,” promised Schmitter.
Last September RTL Deutschland and the NFL had entered into an extensive partnership for the entire German-speaking region as well as Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. The comprehensive rights deal covers live broadcasting rights on free TV and RTL+ for five seasons, i.e. until 2028, of the “NFL Drafts” (the major NFL events in the U.S. at which the 32 NFL teams recruit young up-and-coming players, which RTL broadcast this year on April 28 and 29) and, of course, of the weekly live games in league play, including the Super Bowl and the “Germany Games,” games that are played in Germany. This year, the Kansas City Chiefs play the Miami Dolphins in Frankfurt on November 5 and the New England Patriots face off against the Indianapolis Colts on November 12. In all, football fans can look forward to around 80 live broadcasts every season between September and February. And that is by no means all. RTL Deutschland has used the time since the deal was announced to put together a cross-media package that is unparalleled and has now been presented to the public for the first time together with the designated TV protagonists.
Extensive children’s specialsAnd so, primetime on RTL will be dominated by American football from the start of the U.S. professional league’s regular season on September 10, with one or two games to be broadcast live on Sunday evenings starting at 7:05 p.m. RTL and Nitro will be the NFL’s exclusive free-TV partners in Germany; in addition, one game a week will be shown on RTL+. RTL+ will also show pre-match coverage of the Sunday games starting at 6:15 pm, while Nitro will air a weekly TV magazine showing NFL highlights. The team presenting the live games on free TV and RTL+ includes the previously announced experts and presenters Markus Kuhn, Jan Stecker, Sebastian Vollmer and Alex “Kucze” von Kuczkowski, as well as Frank Buschmann, Patrick Esume, Adrian Franke, Mitja Lafere, Nadine Nurasyid, Florian Schmidt-Sommerfeld, Mona Stevens, Björn Werner, and Jana Wosnitza. In addition to the live games of the “Preseason” in August on Nitro and the “Regular Season” starting in September on RTL, Nitro and on RTL+, there will be streaming and digital content around American football, fan events, a newly designed NFL radio stream and extensive offers for children, RTL Deutschland announced. “Toggo Touchdown,” a newly created format world that will offer child-friendly football content across multiple platforms, will play a central role. Florian Ambrosius will present the TV magazine of the same name on Super RTL every Saturday.
Alongside its “Toggo Radio” offering targeted at younger target groups, RTL Deutschland will launch “NFL Radio” to significantly expand its audio coverage of American football. Starting in September, the radio stream will become a daily meeting place for NFL fans – live, interactive and right up until the kick-off on Sunday. The newly designed radio stream will provide a comprehensive audio featuring daily news about the NFL, detailed pre- and post-game reports on all game days, a dedicated music concept for the NFL sound, and a “Tailgate Show” several hours long immediately preceding the Sunday games. Part of the radio project is the strong involvement of the football community, which was called upon at an early stage to participate in its creation.
Content on RTL+ and Sport.deMeanwhile, the streaming service RTL+ Music is helping to get listeners in the mood for the NFL season with “Down Set Talk! – RTL’s NFL podcast.” Since April 27, hosts Adrian Franke and Christoph Kröger have been scrutinizing the action on and off the field for their popular podcast, which offers tactical and analytical discussion around the world’s strongest football league. Exclusively on RTL+ Music, the savvy football experts will devote additional special episodes each month to the particularities of the U.S. professional league. New regular editions of “Down Set Talk! – The NFL Podcast from RTL” appear weekly on Thursdays on RTL+ Musik and wherever podcasts are available.
A four-part documentary entitled “American Football – Made in Germany” is also in the works. It follows the path of German-speaking players to the NFL and paints a comprehensive picture of the fascination of American football from a German perspective. Among other things, the documentary accompanies German superstar Amon-Ra St. Brown throughout the season, shows the rocky road of German players to the U.S. professional league and captures the colorful world of American football with a round trip through the U.S. with RTL expert Markus Kuhn. In a documentary is scheduled to start in September exclusively on RTL+, viewers can accompany star receiver and main protagonist Amon-Ra St-Brown up close and personal throughout the season. It will later be available as free-to-air TV on the channel Nitro.
Sport.de has been designated as the NFL’s new digital home. The platform boasts one of the world’s largest sports databases with a wide range of information on various sports. From the latest sports news and transfer rumors to exclusive interviews and in-depth analyses, Sport.de serves as an unparalleled source of information, offering extensive reporting as well as highlight videos, match summaries, and other exclusive content.
Formats and faces for everyone who loves the sport“By having the market leader RTL show it during primetime on Sundays, we are giving American football the biggest possible stage, one that this exciting sport deserves,” said Stephan Schmitter. “At the same time, as a cross-media powerhouse, we will bring the NFL to life across all platforms, for all fans and newcomers to the sport. I’m especially happy that we have so much first-rate expertise and passion for American football in our amazing ‘Offensive Line’. You can expect great team play and top-of-the-line entertainment for everyone.” RTL Deutschland plans to take the NFL on RTL “to a new level and give it unprecedented visibility,” declared Schmitter at Friday’s press event. From linear and streaming TV to radio, podcasts, websites and YouTube videos, to coverage in print media and at events, “With ‘American Football – made in Germany,’ we want to stir up enthusiasm for this great sport throughout Germany and attract new target groups.” He said that schools will also be approached so that interested children can learn the rules there, for example. Schmitter also promised the club and fan club members attending the press event that he would work closely with them to raise the visibility and popularity of this sport in Germany.
This is in fact one of the aims of the partnership between RTL Deutschland and the NFL. According to RTL Deutschland, American football is the #2 most popular TV spectator sport in Germany among 14- to 49-year-old viewers, second only to soccer. And Germany is the NFL’s most important growth market. So the planned media package is deliberately broad-based, a fact that is evident in the lineup of presenters. According to Andreas von Thien, Head of Sports at RTL, the formats and presenters have been picked to appeal to all sports enthusiasts, from young to old, from novices to experts. “There will be something for everyone,” promised von Thien.