The NFL folded its development league in Europe, calling the decision a sound business move that will allow for a stronger international focus on regular-season games outside the United States, NFL.com reports. The announcement came less than a week after the Hamburg Sea Devils beat the Frankfurt Galaxy 37-28 in the World Bowl title game in Frankfurt. Five of the NFL Europa’s six teams are based in Germany, with the other in Amsterdam, Netherlands. “We thank our fans for the great support in the past years,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was quoted as saying.
Goodell said it was time to develop a new international strategy, terming the move to fold NFL Europa as the “best business decision.” The league reportedly was losing about $30 million a season. The league began in 1991 as the World League of American Football, with 10 teams from the United States and Europe.
After closing for two seasons in 1993 and 1994, the league returned with six European teams and retained the same format until the end. NFL Europa managing director Uwe Bergheim said the league had succeeded in establishing a fan base for football in important European markets. “Despite the great support of fans, business partners and the cities where we were active, we decided that it was time to change the strategy,” Bergheim said.