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NFL looking to expand regular-season slate to Germany

The NFL thinks crowds, like this one at a 2019 game between Houston and Jacksonville in London, would flock to watch games in Germany.Ian Walton/Associated Press

The NFL wants to expand its international series by holding regular-season games in Germany, launching a process Wednesday to identify a partner city. Germany boasts a strong NFL fan base and is one of the world’s largest economies, making the country an attractive partner. The NFL has staged 28 regular-season games in London since 2007 and will play two more in October at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. German fans often travel to London to attend games, the league said. “We are very excited about the development of our German fan base, and the time is right to identify a partner who can execute a game at NFL standards as part of our international growth strategy,” Brett Gosper, the NFL’s head of UK and Europe, said in a statement. Weekly television viewership in Germany has grown by more than 20% annually since 2017, the league said. German viewership of the Buccaneers’ 31-9 victory over the Chiefs in the Super Bowl on Feb. 8 set a record. The NFL staged five preseason games in Germany between 1990 and 1994, and had a professional team presence in Germany between 1991 and 2007 in the former World League/NFL Europe/NFL Europa. NFL regular-season games have also been played in Mexico and Canada.

49ers cut summer program short

The 49ers cut short their offseason program by a week when coach Kyle Shanahan sent his veterans home for the summer instead of having them stay for a mandatory minicamp next week, saying he made the decision mostly because of the strong turnout for the voluntary portion of the offseason instead of as a direct reaction to significant injuries to safety Tarvarius Moore (torn Achilles’ and offensive lineman Justin Skule (torn ACL) … Peyton Manning was elected to the Broncos Ring of Fame in recognition of his four-year run (2012-15) in Denver that culminated with a Super Bowl 50 title, and will be honored during a game against Washington on Halloween, less than three months after his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 8 … Browns chief of staff Callie Brownson, one of just a handful of female coaches in the NFL, was suspended by the team but won’t lose her job after an arrest for drunken driving last month.


Koepka: Feud with DeChambeau good for game

Brooks Koepka insists his ongoing rivalry with fellow major champion Bryson DeChambeau is good for golf. Koepka is at the inaugural Palmetto Championship in South Carolina this week, his first event since a video interview outtake at last month’s PGA Championship showed the four-time major champ rolling his eyes as DeChambeau walked behind him. The clip was not supposed to be shown, but was posted on social media and picked up more than 10 million views before being removed. To Koepka, the video put the attention squarely on golf for a social media-savvy generation essential for the game’s growth. DeChambeau this week, like Koepka, thought a “good, jesting rivalry is good for the game of golf.” … Mikko Korhonen of Finland withdrew from next week’s US Open because of travel concerns getting to Torrey Pines in San Diego. He was replaced in the field by Cole Hammer, the first alternate from the Columbus, Ohio, qualifier that featured the strongest field. Korhonen, 40, has never played in the US Open, but earned one of 10 spots awarded to European Tour players. In the absence of a 36-hole qualifier in England because of travel restrictions, the 10 spots were determined by points earned over three European Tour events. Korhonen finished No. 4.



MLS All-Stars to face Mexico’s best

A match between the top players in Major League Soccer and Mexico’s Liga MX is on, with the two leagues announcing the MLS All-Star Game will be played Aug. 25 at Banc of California Stadium, home of Los Angeles FC of the MLS. California stadiums and arenas are cleared to go to full capacity beginning Tuesday. The game was originally scheduled to take place last July 29 and coincide with MLS’s 25th season until the coronavirus pandemic curtailed those plans. The upcoming game represents a departure from the format for the past 15 MLS All-Star games that had the best players in the league facing European clubs.


Ronaldo adds to goal tally

Cristiano Ronaldo scored to lead Portugal to a 4-0 win over Israel at Lisbon, in its final match before defending its European Championship title. Ronaldo took his international tally to 104 goals and will enter Euro 2020 five goals shy of tying the all-time record for a men’s national team, held by former Iran striker Ali Daei, the only other male to surpass the 100-goal milestone … Hamrun Spartans, Malta’s domestic champion, was removed from the Champions League qualifying rounds by UEFA for the club’s past links to match-fixing. The fixing case dated back to the 2012-13 season, Maltese media reported, but the team had not qualified for any UEFA club competition since … Russian referee Sergey Lapochkin was banned by UEFA for 10 years in a match-fixing case and Latvian club Ventspils must serve a seven-year ban from European competitions. Lapochkin was provisionally suspended in March for failing to inform UEFA about an approach to corrupt a game, reported to be Ventspils’ 1-0 loss to Bordeaux in a Europa League qualifying rounds game in July 2018.



WooSox’ offense erupts in win

The Worcester Red Sox put up five runs in both the fourth and fifth innings en route to a 12-5 win at the Syracuse Mets. Michael Chavis went 3 for 4 with three RBIs, all coming on a three-run homer in the fourth. Raynel Espinal (5-1) went six innings for the win, giving up four earned runs on three hits while walking two and fanning three … Joey Meneses and Ryan Fitzgerald drove in two runs each as the Portland Sea Dogs beat the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 5-4, at Hadlock Field … Jocelyn Alo hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth inning, and Oklahoma beat Florida State, 6-2, to force a decisive Game 3 for the Women’s College World Series softball title on Thursday in Oklahoma City … American Sam Querrey defeated Altug Celikbilek, 6-4, 6-1, in the first round of the Stuttgart (Germany) Open, and will face James Duckworth, who beat seventh-seeded Adrian Mannarino, 6-3, 6-2.