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NFL to Push China Game Plans Back to 2019

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2017

The NFL shield logo is shown painted on the field at Sports Authority Field at Mile High before an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

The NFL announced Thursday that it has postponed its plans for a game in China during the 2018 season until 2019. 

According to Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Daily, NFL executive vice-president for international explained the reasoning behind the decision to push the game back to a season that will be the league's 100th in existence: "It may make better sense to look at that game as an opportunity to celebrate our 100 years, in the event we can pull it off and as a way to look forward to the future."

The NFL initially planned on holding a preseason game in China in 2007 prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, but it opted against doing so.

Then, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced in 2016 that the league's intention was to bring a regular-season contest to China in 2018, per ESPN.com's Ashley Fox.

The Los Angeles Rams are expected to be the home team when that game occurs, and the fact that the opening of their new stadium was postponed from 2019 to 2020 aided in the NFL being able to wait on the China event, according to Kaplan.

He also added that the NFL staging four games in London and one in Mexico in 2018 has put a lot on the NFL's plate in terms of growing the game internationally.

China is a huge market that is largely untapped by the NFL, which increases the importance of ensuring that its first venture is successful.

Per Census.gov, China is the most-populous country in the world with over 1.3 billion inhabitants.

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