The NFL is looking into playing a game in China in the near future, but it might take a little longer than previously anticipated. The league was looking at kicking off the 2018 season in China, but NFL executive VP of international Mark Waller is now saying 2019 might make more sense.
2019 happens to mark the 100th anniversary of the league. Waller told Sports Business Daily, “It may make better sense to look at that game as an opportunity to celebrate our hundred years, in the event we can pull it off and as a way to look forward to the future.”
The Los Angeles Rams are expected to be the home team for the game. The decision to delay opening their new stadium from 2019 to 2020 provides an opportunity to do the game in 2019 without the Rams giving up a home revenue check from their new stadium.
I bring all this up because the San Francisco 49ers have been rumored to be the team the Rams would face in China. The initial report was about 2018, but there were concerns that was not enough time to properly plan it out. If the game is held there in 2019, having two west coast teams makes sense. The west coast is 15 hours behind Beijing. There is some thought to having a 9 p.m. PT Friday kickoff game. That would be noon local time in China.