On the heels of Major League Baseball opening the 2019 season in Japan, the NFL is reportedly considering kicking off the 2020 pro football season in China.
According to The Athletic, league owners are discussing the possibility of allowing the San Francisco 49ers to give up a home game and serve as the host team in the game.
The LA Rams, who are also on the West Coast and play in the same division as the 49ers, have previously shown interest in a game like this and could be a possible opponent for San Fran.
Having the game start the season would make sense as the teams would have appropriate lead-up time to acclimate to the 15-hour time difference as well as recover before Week 2 of the season.
“As a football guy, you’re usually pretty protective. Like, ‘Hey, let’s make sure this is good for our team.’ I think one thing we feel comfortable with is that (CEO) Jed (York) and (team president) Al (Guido) always keep that in mind, so we’re not going to do anything that’s going to put us at a disadvantage,” said 49ers general manager John Lynch. “But if we can grow the game and also have a cool experience we’ll make it work.”
As of now, the NFL already plays a series of games outside the U.S. in London and a single one in Mexico City as part of its International Series. The league has discussed expanding the series in the past in order to create more revenue and expand football’s appeal worldwide.