Skip to main content

NFL unlikely to play international games in 2020?

NFL, schedule
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is just days away from releasing its schedule for the 2020 season. While it will be a full 17-week schedule for the upcoming season, though, there could be one significant change that will hurt the NFL world this season.

As the NFL continues to try and expand its brand internationally, the COVID-19 pandemic could be a major hurdle preventing that in 2020.

NFL International Series is unlikely

The NFL started playing at least one regular-season game internationally in 2007. Since that time, 28 games have been played in London. As part of the NFL’s continued push to broaden the game’s reach, it also started playing one regular-season game each year in Mexico since 2016.

The incredible success with fan interest and attendance in London and Mexico was set to continue this year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Due to the ongoing global health crisis, though, it’s now unlikely that any international games will be played this year, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

As a result, the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals will lose their international home games in 2020 and instead play them at home. The decision would be even more impactful for the Jacksonville Jaguars, given they were scheduled to play two home games in London this season.

The NFL is sticking with its plan to have a full 16-game season without any disruptions, which will likely be reflected when the 2020 schedule is released this week. However, contingency plans are already being established with training camp potential in jeopardy and the increasing risk of Week 1 being delayed.