The 49ers and Rams may play a regular season game in China in two years.
Sports Business Daily reports that a 49ers-Rams game in China is expected to be the Rams’ “home” opener for the 2018 season. The Rams have already agreed to give up one home game a year to play overseas during each of the three seasons in which they’re playing their home games in the L.A. Coliseum while their new stadium is being built.
It has previously been reported that the Rams were expected to play a home game in China in 2018, but this is the first report indicating that the 49ers will be their opponent, or that the game will be the Rams’ home opener. The NFL could even consider making the China game its first regular-season game of the 2018 season, which would give both teams extra time to recover from the jet lag of a long trip home from Asia.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Sports Business Daily, “We have not announced the Rams’ opponent in the event we play a game there. We have said we are exploring playing a game there but nothing is definitive.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is interested in playing games in China. The NFL is already about as popular as it can get in the United States, and the league’s owners are increasingly attempting to grow the game internationally as they try to continue generating higher revenues.