When the Kansas City Chiefs (virtually) host the Miami Dolphins at Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt, Germany, on Sunday morning (8:30 a.m. Arrowhead Time on NFL Network and KSHB/41), it will be the first time the Chiefs have played on the other side of the Atlantic since Week 8 of 2015, when they (virtually) hosted the Detroit Lions at London’s Wembley Stadium.
To CEO Clark Hunt, it seemed a lot more like an actual home game than he expected it would.
“I was amazed by that,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “It was really red; the fans for the most part, were wearing red.”
The team is hoping fans will have an even better experience this Sunday.
“We will be utilizing our gameday production,” said Hunt, “so I expect it to have a similar feel on game day.
“The big difference is the fact that we have been in the market for a year and a half [doing] marketing. We have sponsors, we have done a number of activations [and] we’ll have ‘The ChampionShip’ available to fans throughout the week as a way to introduce them to what it means to be a Chiefs fan. It’s a much more comprehensive and broad approach than we had in 2015.”
All this effort is focused on continuing to grow the team’s brand in Germany, where the NFL has granted the franchise merchandising rights — and where the team already has a strong fan base.
“If you look at any of the metrics that the league follows,” explained Hunt, “whether it’s social media, merchandise sales, etc., we are right at the top of NFL teams in that regard. We’ll just want to continue growing that. We’re hopeful the new fans we attract will want to watch the Chiefs and the NFL on a weekly basis.”
Hunt doesn’t know exactly where all of this will ultimately lead — but wherever it is, it will be a step forward for both the Chiefs and the league.
“Some have talked about the NFL having franchises based in Europe,” noted Hunt, who has long served on the league’s International Committee. “I don’t know that we’ll ever get there. I do know the game is growing in Germany. Our presence there — [along with] the other NFL teams who are marketing in the region — is going to do nothing but accelerate that.”
In the end, Hunt believes this kind of exposure is beneficial not only to the team and the league, but also to the city his team calls home.
“The combination of the Super Bowl parades, the NFL Draft, the Chiefs playing in Frankfurt and the World Cup coming in two and a half years? All of that puts a lot of eyeballs on Kansas City — and is [indirectly] really positive for the economy.
“One of the things that we have talked about in the context of the World Cup is that we really need to showcase that Kansas City is a great place to live, work and play — and I think we’ll have that opportunity.”
Hunt first traveled to Germany almost 50 years ago to attend World Cup games in what was then West Germany. He remembers that experience fondly — and hopes that what the Chiefs are doing in Frankfurt this weekend (and with the World Cup in 2026) will provide similar experiences for Germans.
“That’s something that’s in the back of my mind,” he acknowledged. “I know when fans come to Kansas City in 2026, they are going to have the same kind of experience — and hopefully want to come back as a result.”