European League of Football continues to expand

Karajica: "In two years we will have 24 teams from 15 nations and one million spectators in the stadiums"

March 29, 2023
European League of Football Communication
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European League of Football continues to expand
Zeljko Karajica, CEO of the European League of Football, is happy about the development. © Jonas Wicker

Those responsible for the European League of Football are in the starting blocks for the 2023 season and are already working flat out behind the scenes on the further expansion of the continental league. On the first weekend in June, 17 franchises from nine nations will be competing in three conferences, with six teams making their debut. Managing Director Zeljko Karajica and Commissioner Patrick Esume are eagerly awaiting the kick-off and are providing deep insights into their plans for the "Champions League" of European football.

Shows how big the movement is

"Already in two years, the European League of Football will consist of 24 franchises in 15 nations and will truly be a European league. That's what we said at the beginning, and that's what will happen. But even more impressive than the number of teams is the development of spectator numbers: In the premiere season in 2021, there were around 80,000 fans in the stadiums under COVID conditions. Last year, around 240,000 came, and in 2023 we'll surely crack the half-million mark. In two years, there will then be more than a million people attending our games. That shows you how big the movement is," says league boss Karajica.

More than 22,500 tickets sold

In the European League of Football, 17 teams are competing with one goal in mind: the Championship Game on September 24 at the Schauinsland-Reisen Arena in Duisburg. Although the new season does not start for another two months, and it is still completely open who will make it in the end, 22,500 tickets for the final have already been sold in advance. The arena holds 31,000 spectators.

"We started in 2021 and even in this short time it has become clear that the potential of our sport is huge in Europe as well - and we want to lift that with all our determination. In terms of the quality of football, we're going to see another big leap. It will be even better than year two and much better than year one. I recognize incredible talent in all the teams and expect very close competition," said league commissioner Esume.


New teams - new challenges

In addition to Berlin Thunder, the Hamburg Sea Devils, Frankfurt Galaxy,the Cologne Centurions, the Leipzig Kings, Rhein Fire, Stuttgart Surge (all Germany), defending champions Vienna Vikings, the Raiders Tirol (both Austria), the Panthers Wrocław (Poland) and the Barcelona Dragons (Spain), six new teams will be competing: the Munich Ravens (Germany), Milano Seamen (Italy), Prague Lions (Czech Republic), Helvetic Guards (Switzerland), Fehérvár Enthroners (Hungary) and Paris Musketeers (France).

A regular-season attendance record will be broken as early as week two: That's when the Sea Devils face Rhein Fire at Hamburg's Volksparkstadion. More than 15,000 tickets have already been sold. "It was our declared goal from the very beginning to bring football to the big stage in Europe as well. To do this, we need partners at our side who want to make the sport bigger together with us. The cooperation between the Sea Devils and HSV marks the beginning and I firmly believe that this constellation will serve as a blue print for other locations," assures league managing director Karajica.


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