A photo of a man standing in a stadium
Luca Fritsche, a 2021 graduate of VCU’s Center for Sport Leadership, is a season support assistant for NFL Germany. (Courtesy photo)

VCU Center for Sport Leadership alum helps the NFL kick off in Germany

In his home country, Luca Fritsche uses a game plan from his studies to support the league’s international growth.

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Luca Fritsche grew up not far from Frankfurt, Germany – or as American sports fans may know it now, one of the hotbeds of the NFL.

Fritsche, a 2021 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Sport Leadership, is a season support assistant for NFL Germany. The professional football league made its first foray into the country in 2022 with a game in Munich, and this season, it brought two games to Frankfurt – which meant Fritsche was busy promoting an American passion in a promising international market for the league.

“I was fortunate to work the first ever NFL game in Germany last year, but it was a little sad after putting in all of that work,” he said. “The game is Sunday and on Monday, everybody leaves. It was very cool to have two games this year.”

A photo of a sports stadium
Germany’s Frankfurt Stadium, a hotbed of the NFL. (Courtesy photo)

On Nov. 5, the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Miami Dolphins, and a week later, the Indianapolis Colts held off the New England Patriots. Both games were played at Frankfurt Stadium. Fritsche’s main responsibility leading up to the games was ticket communications, helping fans from around the world navigate the process. Ticket demand was high, both for Americans traveling abroad to support their teams and Germans and sports fans throughout Europe wanting to experience the NFL.

“They love it! They are excited by it. They love the game and the entertainment surrounding the main event. We have a lot of avid fans,” said Fritsche, who grew up outside of Dusseldorf, about 2½ hours from Frankfurt.

During the game weeks, Fritsche was in charge of escorting two VIPs: a pair of former NFL players born in Germany. Markus Kuhn was the first German-born player to score a touchdown in an NFL game – as a defensive tackle, he returned a fumble for a TD in 2014. Sebastian Vollmer played eight seasons as an offensive tackle with the New England Patriots, winning two Super Bowls. Fritsche coordinated their tickets, hotels, transportation and appearances.

During the two-week blitz of NFL activity, Fritsche leaned on lessons he learned in his master’s program at VCU to stay focused.

“I feel like my time at the Center for Sport Leadership prepared me pretty well to keep calm and deal with challenges,” he said. “We learned to not feel overwhelmed with unexpected tasks or things that need to be done last minute. It was all part of the growth mindset we talked about throughout the year at the CSL. Start with the mindset that you are able to do this, and then find the best possible solutions for the challenges that are waiting for you during those two weeks.”

There was another CSL connection that made the two-week experience memorable. One of Fritsche’s classmates and close friends, Nasir Nichols, made the trip to Germany to watch one of the games.  “Even though I was working and busy, it was awesome having Nasir here.”

A photo of two men sitting next to each other on chairs.
Fritsche with a CSL classmate and close friend Nasir Nichols, who made the trip to Germany to watch one of the games. (Courtesy photo)

The NFL has been playing regular season games in Europe since 2007, primarily in London. The league likely will return to Germany in 2024, but it is also looking at Spain as a possible destination. If the NFL does return to his home country, a proud but weary Fritsche said he hopes the two-week schedule remains in place.

“Two games is perfect,” he said. “I don’t need a Game 3!”