Packers not interested in playing in China

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy shares a laugh with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell before the Sept. 13, 2015, game at Soldier Field in Chicago.

BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Los Angeles Rams reportedly are interested in playing a game in China, but the Green Bay Packers have no desire to join them.

Numerous media outlets reported Wednesday that the Rams have been in discussion with the NFL about hosting the first regular-season game in China during the 2018 season. Those conversations evidently heated up at this week’s NFL owners meetings.

The Packers are schedule to play the Rams on the road that season as part of their three-year rotation against the NFC West. NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell told reporters on Wednesday morning that nothing has been finalized about potential participants, but said several teams have expressed interest.

The Packers are not among them.

“We would not be in support of that,” said Packers president Mark Murphy at Wednesday’s NFL owners meetings. “That’s such a long trip. If they do it, it would make sense for West Coast teams – shorter trip for them, but that wouldn’t be something we would want to do.”

In accordance with their relocation from St. Louis, the Rams agreed to participate in one international game in each of the next three seasons since their Inglewood stadium won't open until 2019. They’ll play the New York Giants and New England in London over the next two seasons.

As the NFL looks to increase its international brand, Houston and Oakland have agreed to play a game in Mexico City on Nov. 21. The Packers remain supportive of a possible trip to London, but have been steadfast about not sacrificing a regular-season home game to do so.

Based on how well Green Bay’s fans travel, opposing teams also have been reluctant to sacrifice a home game against Green Bay. It appeared like Jacksonville could be a possible candidate to host the Packers abroad next season, but it didn’t turn out that way.

So the wait continues.

“London, we’d be very supportive of,” Murphy said. “It’s the same issues we’ve dealt with all along. The first one is we don’t’ want to give up a home game and then when you look at potential road opponents or away games for us, they don’t want to give up a Packer home game for them because our fans travel so well.” and follow him on Twitter @WesHod. 

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