The San Francisco 49ers have seen their Australian popularity skyrocket thanks to Jarryd Hayne's addition to the team, and the NFL may look to capitalize on it. There is chatter in Australian media that the 49ers might take part in a preseason game Down Under next August. News Corp Australia reported New South Wales Premier Mike Baird has been in talks with the NFL about playing a game at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
49ers owner John York acknowledged interest in the possibility:
"It's something we'd definitely consider with the NFL," Dr York said. "We're fully aware of the interest Jarryd Hayne has created in Sydney and Australia. I've met fans from Australia at every game this year. The support is incredible."
Some of the Australian media have referenced talks between Baird and John York, but if that has happened, it would not be in his capacity as 49ers owner. Dr. York used to be chairman of the NFL's International Committee, but he stepped down from the chairmanship to become chairman of the Health & Safety Advisory Committee. The NFL handles the process of picking teams for international contests, and the league would be the ones handling that process. According to the 49ers 2015 media guide, Dr. York remains a part of the International Committee, so he could very well be able to represent the league as a whole, and the 49ers specifically in this discussion.
If this were to happen, I have to think we would hear something sooner rather than later. And given the extra time to get down there and get prepped, I am inclined to think it would be a team's first preseason game, as opposed to a random one in the middle of the schedule.
I inquired with the 49ers about this story, and a team spokesperson said "We are always supportive of the NFL's efforts to grow the game internationally and will follow their lead."