NFL now unlikely to play in China in 2018

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The NFL’s plans to play a game in China have run into some stumbling blocks.

Despite reports that the Rams and 49ers would play in China in 2018, NFL Executive V.P. of International Mark Waller told Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com that there’s probably more work to do than can be done in two years.

“I would say there’s a low likelihood of it happening,” Waller said. “But we’re working hard to see if we can make it work.”

There are major logistical challenges to flying the Rams and 49ers 13 hours to Beijing, having them spend a week practicing and playing in a country with a 15-hour time difference, then having them fly back and get ready to play another game. It’s also still unclear what time of day a game in China would be played, as the league would want it to be on at a good time for both Chinese fans to attend and American fans to watch. And it’s still unclear whether there’s enough of a fan base in China to sell out a stadium.

“When do the teams get back? How do you schedule them? Does it affect the teams coming back?” Waller said. “If we want to do this in China, it has to be a good time for Chinese fans, but also so that U.S. fans can watch. And we want to make sure we can keep growing it.”

The NFL may have already grown as popular as it’s going to get in the United States, and so the owners want to grow the sport internationally. That might eventually involve playing games in China, but it may still be a few more years before that can happen.

59 responses to “NFL now unlikely to play in China in 2018

  1. Just an idea, but those two teams could stay there. Perhaps play each other every week so China can see what real football is all about. Chances are they would both still finish under .500

    Maybe we can look into hosting a game on the moon next.

  2. China was all about greedy owners seeking big Chinese investments. Now that their economy is flattening out, the owners are wavering.

    Where the NFL should be looking is mainland Europe, particularly Germany and the Netherlands. They would easily sell out any games played there, and the sheer quantity of potential games would surpass anything a game in China would bring.

  3. Is there one NFL fan in the US that wants the league scheduling games in China? Doubt it.

    Once again, Goodell screwing up the game.

  4. It is easy to work out the problems. There is a simple solution. Play the games in the United States!!!

  5. This global expansion of football is idiotic. Canada and Mexico are right there, and Canada even has a league that plays some semblance of “our” football and is reasonably successful, yet they’re targeting London and Beijing? Until they come out with some kind of Star Trek teleportation device, inter-continental football will just never work smoothly.

  6. It’d have to be the opening Thursday night game of the season, which would be at an odd time in China. You could make the opening Thursday a double header?

  7. So Goodell complains about the HB2 bill in North Carolina because he feels it violates human rights but he’s trying to get a game in China?

    Can you say HYPOCRITE ?

  8. Assuming this happens, it feels like the teams playing there would require the bye week to follow that game to provide time to adjust to coming home. Maybe a preseason game that doesn’t matter is best? This doesn’t feel like it works in season.

  9. My sources in China tell me there are at least 4 main reasons why an NFL game in China is a non-starter.
    1 – There are 3 members of the NFL advance team that haven’t been able to get over their jet lag, even after being in China for a week, and have slept through many of the meetings.
    2 – The Chinese are insisting that the game be blacked out in Taiwan.
    3 – The Chinese want at least three of the starters from each team to be Chinese. So far Goodell won’t agree with more than 2.
    But the main stumbling block is that
    4 – the NFL wants the game to be played during the time slot currently dedicated to playing reruns of Sex in the City. And that’s just not going to happen.

  10. I like how this country preaches against communism and always for human rights but yet we will consider playing in China. As long as there is money involved we look the other way. Our government/country/businesses are such a bunch of BS.

  11. Good!! The NFL needs to be more concerned about the falling TV ratings, here in the USA……

  12. The way to make it not too disruptive is have it at the start of the season, the first game played.

  13. the NFL in their arrogance, and lack of basic scientific knowledge, is probably working on a new “World Time Zone” so everyone is always on the same time, or maybe they are just working out a way to have the sun shine over the whole world at once.

  14. So, let me get right…..Carolina receives all kinds of pressure because a man can’t use the women’s room…..The NFL and NBA then wilfully engage in commerce with a country that has a poor track record of human rights and very poor support of the LGBT community. Illegal to show them on TV….how does that balance out? Oh….the money you say?

  15. Talk about inept management. In a few years, the time difference between the U.S. And China will be the same, and it will take the same affect on the players as it would if they did it today. These are the problems that it’s going to take the NFL a few years to solve?

    I’m not a fan of this whole overseas thing, but they can’t expect to have millions of fans lined up for a game that they’ve never seen. Take a game there and see the response. Just pick 2 teams that will be out of the playoff race late in the year so that it doesn’t really matter what the affects are.

  16. Everything is going to eventually go global instead of regional/national.. Games will be in England more and more, soon there will be another country (not China apparently) and another country.. It’s all about milking every last dollar out of fans (they can never have enough)..

    The NFL “Shield” doesn’t stand for what it used to stand for.. It really is a caricature of what it once was and is now just a billion dollar joke shared amongst passed down family money (and a few newbie owners as well)..

  17. Teams travel on bye week to settle in. Play Friday night local time, which would be their Thursday night game in the US. Fly back that Saturday and have 3 days to adjust before preparing for the following week.

    Or, change the schedule to 17 games (2 preseason) and give teams an extra bye week.

  18. Hey, NFL, you want to find out how badly you’ve damaged the trust of your fans? Go play football in China..

    This isn’t rocket science, but they’re making such a big mess of this game, they’re going to need a few to fix this.

  19. Interesting how American sports leagues are so eager to turn a blind eye to human rights violations in China but will punish states like North Carolina because a majority of their population is against weeners in girls restrooms.

  20. It would be GREAT if the players wore game jerseys that are sold in China for $20-25 a pop. These jerseys are damn near close, if not exact copies, of game jerseys that the U. S. saps pay $300 for.

    The owners and the NFLPA would LOVE that.

    Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha (evil laugh).

  21. Wait, it can’t be true that a successful businessman would sell us short on our country’s own sport and ideals, can it? Hmmmm, I wonder what other situation this parallels.

  22. I hope they never play in China. Talk about hypocrisy!! To play in a country where the government treats its people like criminals is insane. No American team should ever play in that country as far as I’m concerned.
    If anyone missed the documentary which ran a month or so ago about the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the things the Chinese government did to their people to put on a facade for hosting the Olympics, I urge you to try to find it and watch it. What the Chinese government did was horrible and the Olympic Committee is just as guilty as they are because they were aware of everything they did.

  23. The NFL must be looking with jealousy at the European soccer teams making a fortune by having games played in China. The main difference is that soccer is a growing sport in China whereas American football has very little popularity there. The China Super League is giving insane salaries to foreign soccer players there. They make Dan Snyder look like a cheapskate in comparison.

    Anyone can play soccer as all you need is a ball and a field. For football, you need expensive equipment such as helmets and pads. The masses can’t afford nor have any interest in football in China.

  24. At this point, I say go ahead. My interest is waning. I only watch my home team anymore, and eventually I plan on quitting the NFL completely. I’m sick of a league that takes it’s fan base for granted, tries to eke every last penny out of them and is completely apathetic towards their thoughts and feelings. I look forward to the slow death of the NFL.

  25. LOL at all the people bashing China and pretending to love America while loading up their car with Chinese crap from Wal-Mart.

    The Great Wal-Mart of China has put the biggest dent in the American middle class. They shut down more American manufacturing jobs than the big three automakers. But as long as you stand for the Anthem…you are good to go. That apparently is the measuring stick for being a good Murcan.

  26. Just don’t do it. Ever ! The London thing needs to go as well. NO ONE in the US cares about playing football in a foreign country beside the owners and the NFL. It puts a little more money in their overstuffed pockets. What do the fans of those teams get for their team playing in those games ? One less home game . The NFL will eventually kill the golden goose.

  27. Too bad, I would loved to have seen the NFL Employees protest about human rights issues in China. Although my guess, Baddell would suspend them for life or something.

  28. We could have the owners attend with their teams when they play in Iran. They may be so happy they will lose their heads laughing.

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