There’s a whole lot of logistical concerns with the idea of playing regular season NFL football outside of North America. The league has done well to fit London into its schedule on an annual basis. And last season’s Oakland Raiders-Houston Texans game in Mexico City was a smashing success.
Always attempting to build up its brand internationally, plans have been in place for some time to play a regular season game in China. The league was preparing for the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers to open up the 2018 season in the Asia capital.
Now, it looks like those plans will be delayed for at least one more year.
“It may make better sense to look at that game as an opportunity to celebrate our hundred years, in the event we can pull it off and as a way to look forward to the future,” NFL Executive VP Mark Waller said about the postponement, via the Sports Business Journal.
Earlier this year, it was reported that the NFL might have to go to extra lengths to protect its players from pollution in China should a game come to fruition (more on that here).
Going to the far east for a regular season football game is a logistical nightmare. Will each team that takes part in the international game have an early-season bye? How will the travel work? In China, how will the government interference with freedom itself work? Remember, there’s a lot more to traveling to the communist nation than playing a game in either Mexico City or London.
Still, it seems that the NFL is hellbent on playing a game in China. If so, the 2019 season would be the perfect time. Let’s just hope it’s not delayed any further.