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Mark Donovan says Chiefs were disappointed not to play in Germany in 2022

Kansas City’s team has been focused on marketing to Germans for quite a while.

FBN-CHIEFS John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

As the Kansas City Chiefs finished three days of rookie-and-quarterback sessions in advance of training camp’s first full practice on Sunday, Kansas City Chiefs president Mark Donovan conducted his annual training camp press conference.

In it, he had the opportunity to reflect on the success the team has built since he came over from the Philadelphia Eagles to become the team’s president in 2009. For Donovan, it all begins with head coach Andy Reid.

“He’s done what we expected him to do — and more,” Donovan told reporters at Missouri Western State University on Friday. “He’s a process-oriented, proven winner. He brought process. He brought stability. He brought experience — and he clearly brought results.

“I say this all the time: It’s a really, really special time to be part of the Chiefs organization. It’s a really, really special time to be part of our fan base. And internally? Like, we appreciate it too. We don’t take it for granted. Andy is a big, big part of that.”

But according to the team president, Reid certainly isn’t the only part of the equation.

“I think you look at the talent on our team,” he said. “You look at the success we’ve had on the field. That’s the unprecedented part, right? When you really look back at the history of this franchise, we’ve never had this success.

“We’ve had superstars, clearly. But as the world has changed — and as it’s gotten smaller and smaller — our superstars are now worldwide superstars. That’s one of the reasons we’re being so aggressive with Germany and Mexico to grow even more.”

The Chiefs will play their first game in Germany against the Miami Dolphins in Frankfurt Stadium on Sunday, November 5th. Donovan said the team has been working on opening that market for more than two years.

“We went from being just another brand to being the No. 1 team in Germany on Instagram in the NFL — which is a significant point,” he said. “We have had multiple trips over there — both [of them] activating marketing.”

Donovan shared an anecdote about the team’s current German visibility.

“We did a schedule release party in Germany — two weeks after the schedule [was] out,” he recalled, “and it was completely sold out. I mean, we had 150 people at this bar — and they were excited to be there. So it just gives you some perspective [about] how excited they are.”

NFL: International Series-Munich City Scenes Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For the Chiefs, expansion into these new markets is all part of a long-term plan.

“It’s a huge opportunity for us,” noted Donovan. “It fits perfectly into our strategy. We’ve been committed to growing the brand internationally for a number of years now — and we targeted Germany early on.

“We were pretty disappointed last year that we weren’t the first team to play over there. But when you look at it strategically — our marketing folks have schooled me on this — it actually plays out better to be the second [team to play]; everyone saw just how big it was last year.”

The team president says that preparations are already well underway on the ground in Frankfurt — and the team is using its experience in other international games to plan for this one.

“We actually have people in Germany today — the last few days — doing some finals,” he said. “[It is] our second prep trip: to see how are we getting from hotel to field and practice and stadium and everything else.

“The league does a really good job in giving us the resources — but then it’s up to us to execute.”

And in that way, the game will be like any other played by the Chiefs.

“The focus is still the same,” said Donovan. “How do we deliver the absolute best fan experience every single time? It’s all related. Having Patrick and Kelce and Chris — and having that team, having a Hall of Fame coach, having the experience at GEHA Field? I mean, there’s nothing like it — but it’s our job to make sure that [it’s great] every single time.”

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