The league’s London slate will begin Sunday, with the Bears and Raiders breaking in Tottenham Hotspur’s $1 billion stadium. While the NFL plans to continue the same international format next season — four games in London, with a fifth likely in Mexico City — future games in Canada and Germany are being considered, Albert Breer of SI.com notes.
While momentum appears to be building for a game in Germany at some point in the early 2020s — but not 2020 — the NFL’s push for a London-based franchise by 2022 looks to have slowed. Issues with the schedule, including what would happen if the London team made the playoffs, remain the top roadblock, per Breer. But one item that may help matters — giving a London team a U.S. base to assist with travel — has generated discussions. A scenario involving the NFL buying the Falcons’ Flowery Branch, Ga., practice facility, with the Falcons moving closer to downtown Atlanta, has been discussed, Breer notes.
Next season will feature two games at the English Premier League club’s new stadium and two more at Wembley Stadium. Beyond 2020, though, Germany could be in play. The NFL’s recent pivot to discussing a 17-game season, something Jerry Jones confirmed (via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, on Twitter), would open the door to future international dates.
The next CBA including a 17-game schedule would accelerate the league’s international push, and Canada games would not require the unique preparations contests in England do. The NFL has played regular-season games in Toronto before, with the Bills hosting multiple games there in the recent past, and the Raiders and Packers convened for a preseason game in Winnipeg this year. (Though, that did not exactly go as planned.)
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