Thursday, July 24, 2014
Is London calling the Packers for 2016?
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Speaking like he knows something is in the works, Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy believes his team will be heading across the pond at some point soon to play in one of the NFL's International Series games.
But Packers' ticket holders need not worry. Murphy said the team would not give up a home game to play overseas.
That sets up a possible 2016 game in London. The Packers are scheduled to play at the Jacksonville Jaguars that season as part of the divisional rotation. That also is the final year of a four-year agreement that calls for the Jaguars to play one home game per season in London.
When discussing NFL games in London, Murphy told the 14,759 who attended Thursday's shareholders meeting that "I anticipate that the Packers will probably play there in the coming years."
Murphy reiterated that the Packers would never agree to give up a home game, which brings an estimated $13.5 million in revenue into the NFL's smallest city.
"It's too important for the community," he said. "But I would be excited about having the chance to play in London.
"I think our fans here would love to travel to London, and I think it'd be a great experience. We'll see. There's only certain teams that play home games in London, so those kind of have to match up. The other issue, quite honestly, and I think we've talked about this before, is that we travel so well that teams are reluctant to give up a home game against the Packers to play in London because it’s typically a guaranteed sellout."
Murphy said the league entertained the possibility of sending the Packers to London in 2012 to play the St. Louis Rams, but the Rams' opponent ended up being the New England Patriots.
"They didn't want to move the Packer game to London because they knew our fans would travel so well to St. Louis," Murphy said.
This year, there are three games scheduled in London: the Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins in Week 4, the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions in Week 8 and the Dallas Cowboys and Jaguars in Week 10. All three will be at Wembley Stadium, but Murphy said the league is exploring other venues in England.