The NFL is looking into expanding its brand to a world-wide level. With a game already scheduled between the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders for Mexico City in November, the league is now planning on taking its product to China and could have a game scheduled by 2018, per Alex Marvez of FOX Sports.
UPDATE: Source tells @NFLonFOX that NFL could play regular season game in China as early as 2018.Handful of teams already expressed interest
— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) March 21, 2016
Additionally, the league is interested in having a game played in Germany by 2017, per Albert Breer of NFL Network.
Per source, the NFL is also looking at putting a 2017 regular-season game in Germany. That's in addition to the idea of China in 2018.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 21, 2016
That a “handful of teams” have already expressed interest in China shows just how much the NFL owners want this league to go international.
London has been part of the rotation for years now. Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan has been a huge advocate for expanding the reach of the NFL and has agreed to have one home game played in London through the 2020 season with a new contract signed this past year.
China, with 1.36 billion citizens, is obviously a humongous potential market that has yet to be tapped into by the NFL. The NBA has been ahead of the curve, marketing to the most populated nation in the world in earnest since Yao Ming was a big thing.
Because of logistics and the brutal travel schedule a game in China would represent, it will be interesting to see which teams might be inclined to take such a big leap to play in China.
This is a developing story we’ll be tracking with much interest, so stay tuned for more information.