GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers should know before this season is over if they’ll be playing in London next season.
NFL UK managing director Alistair Kirkwood told ESPN that the league is looking to bring the final six teams who have not played in London yet overseas in 2018. The Packers are one of those six teams. The others are Carolina, Philadelphia, Seattle, Tennessee and Houston.
Signs have pointed to a possible 2018 Packers game in London for some time, given that the Los Angeles Rams are on Green Bay’s schedule as a road game as part of the divisional rotations. The Rams have agreed to play one home game in London in each season from 2016-2019.
“[There is] a desire to try to get the other six teams that haven’t been over as well,” Kirkwood said when asked about the 2018 slate of overseas games. “It’s not the be-all and end-all, but you kind of like to get closer to have all 32 teams over. That seems like a really nice narrative.”
Kirkwood said the 2018 London schedule should be finalized in December. The rest of the NFL schedule typically comes out in April.
Packers president Mark Murphy has said the team would like to play in London but would not give up a home game to do so because of the economic impact on the NFL’s smallest city. Also, all Packers home games are sold out on a season-ticket basis.
Teams have been unwilling to give up a home game against the Packers to play them in London. There was some thought that the Packers-Jaguars game in 2016 would be played in London, but Packers president Mark Murphy said Jaguars owner Shad Khan did not want to the NFL to take that game out of Florida because he knew it would sell out. Instead, the Jaguars played the Colts in London last year.
"The challenge is that our fans travel so well to away games in the United States that teams are very reluctant to give up home games against the Packers," Murphy said at the time. "We would love to [play in London]. In fact, I talked to Shad, and he expressed to me that he would be very reluctant to move a Packers game away from Jacksonville."
This season, the NFL held four games in London, culminating with the Vikings and Browns this past Sunday.