NFL Denies Report 49ers, Rams Will Play Game in China in 2018

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2016

Oct 26, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; The NFL logo is painted on the field at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, a report surfaced that said the NFL's international series will expand to the Far East in 2018. 

According to Sports Business Daily's Don Muret, the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams will clash in China at a date that has yet to be determined.  

However, the NFL denied the event was set to take place.

"We have not announced the Rams’ opponent in the event we play a game there," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, per Muret. "We have said we are exploring playing a game there, but nothing is definitive."

In March, ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner reported the Rams were in discussions to play a game in China as soon as 2018. 

"We actually have multiple teams that are interested in playing," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the time, per Wagoner. "We have more than we can handle at this point in time, which is a good issue. I think teams are interested in one, participating in how we expand our game on a global basis, but in particular in China."

International showdowns have been a staple of the NFL schedule for years now, but expansion to China would be a first. 

That said, the Rams are not new to traveling around the globe as part of their regular-season slate. Not only did they play the New England Patriots at London's Wembley Stadium in 2012 when they were based in St. Louis, but they're slated to host the New York Giants at Twickenham Stadium on Oct. 23. 

There are three other international games on the 2016 schedule, including a Week 4 meeting between the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars and a Week 8 battle between the Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley Stadium.  

The NFL will then return to Mexico for the first time since 2005 when the Houston Texans travel to square off against the Oakland Raiders in Week 11. 

In July 2015, the NFL and English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur inked a 10-year agreement for the club's new stadium to host a minimum of two games per season when it opens in 2018. 


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