Allianz Arena in Munich is the second-largest stadium in Germany and could serve as the host for a future NFL game if the league selects the city as a host for its International Series. Photo by Diego Delso/Wikimedia Commons
Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The NFL picked the German cities of Munich, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf as the three finalists to host a future regular-season game, the league announced Tuesday.
The three cities will now participate in "deeper conversations" with the league about staging games in Germany. International games are now a regular part of the NFL's annual schedule. The first NFL game in Germany is expected to take place in 2022 or 2023.
The NFL said it "is aiming to find the most suitable partner city for a possible expansion of the International Series into Germany."
The league has staged 29 International Series games in London since 2007 and will push that total to 30 on Sunday, when the Jacksonville Jaguars face the Miami Dolphins at 9:30 a.m. EDT at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The league's previous international schedule also included six games in Toronto and four in Mexico City.
"Regular-season games are a key part of continuing the development of our German fan base by creating more excitement for the sport and more connectivity with fans and communities," said Brett Gosper, the NFL Head of Europe and the United Kingdom.
"The strong interest we have received from German cities underlines what a fantastic opportunity this is for a host, ranging from the significant economic benefits and global exposure to the chance to become a hub for the growth of the NFL's fan engagement, community and grassroots activities."
Gosper said the league wants its partnership with Germany to be "long-term."
The league said TV viewership of its games in Germany, provided by partners ProSieben and DAZN has grown by more than 20% annually since 2017.
Germany also is the leading market for NFL shop sales, fantasy football participation and sales of the MaddenNFL video game outside of North America.