Boca Raton, Fla. — The NFL could try to expand its increasingly international brand to Asia within the next few years as league owners discussed the possibility of playing a game in China during the annual meetings this week.
And even though the Lions have zero interest in giving up a home game to play in another country, president Rod Wood is interested in the possibility of bringing the team to China, though general manager Bob Quinn doesn’t share that desire.
“I kind of nudged Bob when that was announced and told him I might be interested in taking the team to China, is that OK?” Wood said Tuesday at the Boca Raton Resort and Club. “And he’s not in favor of it so I don’t think we’re going to do it unless the schedulers deal us a (bad hand).”
The Lions played a road game in London each of the past two years as the league’s international series continues to grow. The Texans and Raiders will play in Mexico City this year in addition to the three other games going to London, and in addition to China, the NFL is considering having a game in Germany soon.
“We actually have multiple teams that are interested in playing (in China),” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said during a news conference Wednesday. “We have more than we can handle at this point in time, which is a good issue. I think teams are interested in participating in how we expand our game on a global basis, but in particular in China. We will have to go through that process over the next several months, and again, continue to get to the point where we believe if we do this, we can be successful. At this point we do, and that’s why we spoke about it publicly this week.”
Wood sees the opportunity for the NFL to increase its revenue with a China game, and that would indirectly help the Lions.
“China is the biggest country in world,” he said. “Obviously, other professional sports teams have tried to get into the Far East a little bit more. China has a huge following for the NBA, so if we could get over there, it would probably benefit the league from a financial standpoint.
“I’m not sure a 20-hour road trip is something I’d sign up for unless we understand how it’s going to work and how they’re going to get you there and what kind of accommodations before and after the game they’re going to provide.”