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Panthers designated to play regular season game in Germany

Germany2024_Announcement (1)

CHARLOTTE — The Panthers have been making plenty of trips to and building plenty of fans in Germany over the last few years.

Now, they will be playing a game there.

The NFL announced Thursday morning that the Panthers have been designated to play in Munich next season.

"It's an honor for the Carolina Panthers to play in Munich in 2024," Panthers owner David Tepper said. "This game represents more than playing internationally for us. With more than 200 German-owned companies in the Charlotte area, this opportunity offers a special connection for the Panthers and our community. We are excited to deepen our relationships with our German fans, engage with our partners, and continue to grow our brand globally."


The date, opponent, and ticket information for the Munich game will be determined at a later date.

With the expansion of the NFL schedule in 2021, up to four of the teams from the conference whose teams are eligible for a ninth regular-season home game are now designated to play a neutral-site international game each year.

"We are looking forward to welcoming the NFL to our Allianz Arena for the second time," said Andreas Jung, chief marketing officer of FC Bayern Munich. "The match in autumn 2022 was an unforgettable experience, and we want to build on that. Since we played in the Carolina Panthers' stadium in Charlotte in the summer of 2016, it's a great story to welcome the Panthers to Munich."

And while playing a game there takes it to another level — "Ich ben ein Keep Pounding," perhaps — the Panthers are no strangers to the German market.

Panthers legend Steve Smith Sr. was the team's latest ambassador, going to Frankfurt for the NFL games in November to host a watch party and corn hole tournament for the NFL game there as part of a week-long trip.

The team was also in Frankfurt for the regular season opener last year, sending a group including Sir Purr and the TopCats to U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden for events, which included meet-and-greets as well as Play 60 Football and Cheer Clinics for youth. They've also sent players and legends, including Mike Rucker and Luke Kuechly, over for football clinics and events in the past, and even had punter Johnny Hekker announce the selection of fourth-rounder Chandler Zavala from Römerburg last spring.

The Panthers continue to build the brand through German social accounts and web articles, which have been part of the outreach since 2019.

The Panthers various efforts in Germany, including February's Keep Pounding Tour with Kuechly, came after the December 2021 announcement by the NFL that awarded the Carolina Panthers marketing rights there as part of the Global Markets Program (GMP).

These rights give the Panthers access to Germany for marketing, fan engagement, and commercialization as part of the NFL's long-term, strategic effort to build global brands and drive international NFL fan growth. Participation in the GMP initiative spans 19 teams across 10 countries.

"I mean, you could feel the excitement," Hekker said of his trip. "All the people I interacted with were just very proud to be able to host an event like that, to host the NFL. I think it is a sense of accomplishment for them. I mean, they had NFL Europe there years ago, but the game of football has really been kind of the USA and London's thing. So they finally have games over there, and to know that after the first year they host those games that the NFL said, you know what, we like that.

"The NFL saw the reception and said, 'Let's increase his presence there' as a sign of the people's passion for the game and for the NFL brand. You hear about the insane amount of people that were in the queues to try and buy tickets for the games, almost like a Super Bowl. So yeah, I'm proud and honored to be a part of expanding the NFL's reach deeper into Europe."

And yes, Hekker said the lederhosen he was wearing when he announced the pick of Zavala were not just rentals.

"Those are mine forever," Hekker said. "Those are in a box in my closet, maybe waiting for the trip next year."

Stay tuned. You may see them again this fall.

View photos from the various stops in German cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Düsseldorf as Panthers legend Luke Kuechly and other representatives hosted clinics and events for Panthers fans in Germany.

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