MUNICH — A bunch of Germans, a Scotsman, an American journalist, a stuffed owl and a handful of former NFL players walk into a bar…
No, this is not a setup for a joke; it’s just the kind of thing that happens when the Seahawks travel overseas.
And on a Thursday evening in Munich’s old town, the Augustiner Stammhaus Restaurant and Beerhall is packed with Seahawks fans, as it will be all weekend as the official seat for 12 during the week.
As was the case when Seattle played in London four years ago, Seahawks fans are everywhere in Munich this week. Seahawk fans travel well every week, and many people wearing action blue and green around Munich actually made the trip from the Seattle area this week, but much of the Seahawks takeover here is the fact that the team has a huge fanbase in Germany, one that exploded the last decade when NFL games started being televised in Germany on ProSieben Maxx. As former German SeaHawkers president Maximilian Länge explained in London four years ago, because the Seahawks and Patriots were two of the best teams in the NFL for the last decade, many of their games ended up on TV, which led to these two teams building a big Next.
Länge is one of Augustiner Stammhaus’ Germans, as are Lukas Spiess, who replaced Länge as German Seahawks chairman, and several other German fans seated together at a table which also includes Harry, who leads the Scottish chapter of the British Seahawkers. , and for a while a fan of Kenmore, Washington, who can’t wait to show off her German skills with some locals.
As for Frieda, the aforementioned stuffed owl, well, there is a heartbreaking but beautiful story behind it, which can be read in this exceptional piece from The Athletic by Michael-Shawn Dugar, the journalist who was at the table with the Germans and a Scotsman.
And while the growth of the Seahawks fanbase in Germany happened fairly organically, it was a big enough business to make Munich feel like home for 12 seconds in town for the game, a business that began with members of the team’s marketing department making several trips to Munich in the months leading up to the game. This week, around ten staff members are in Munich handling events in the city that are taking place outside of what the team does.
Seahawks-centric touches at the Augustiner include rally towels, appearances from Blitz, DJ Supa Sam and various Seahawks legends — Lofa Tatupu and Jordan Babineaux on Thursday, to name a few — and broadcasts Seattle Sports 710AM live radio station, which with jet lag meant working in a rowdy bar until 11 p.m. for Michael Bumpus and Dave Wyman.