LONDON -- The Kansas City Chiefs’ international experience was colored, of course, by the result of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions. A lot of things could have gone wrong and the trip overseas would have been a pleasure because of the Chiefs’ 45-10 victory.
Not much of significance did go wrong, though. The Chiefs, as an organization at least, embraced the experience. They threw a party at a local pub for their fans who made the trip, and by all appearances, a good time was had by all.
So the Chiefs may be making another trip to London or for an international game in Germany, Mexico or another location in the near future.
But chairman Clark Hunt said that game probably wouldn’t involve the Chiefs relinquishing a home game, as they did with the Lions game.
“I don’t foresee us playing a home game (internationally) in the near future,’’ he said. “It would be much more likely that we would play an away game before we would play another home game. Having said that, the league is going to expand the international series. Beginning in 2018, there will be four games here (in London) and the league is already looking at other markets like Mexico, Canada, Germany, Brazil, maybe one day somewhere in Asia. I think the series is going to expand, but certainly, I don’t want to give up another home game in the near future.”
Hunt said he had no regrets about taking the Lions game away from fans at Arrowhead Stadium.
“None whatsoever,’’ he said. “It’s been a great experience for the organization. I know we have fans who are disappointed that this game (was) not at Arrowhead, and I understand that, but I think it was the right thing for us to do for the Chiefs and the National Football League.
“From a fan standpoint, probably the best experience that the fans have had -- and I enjoyed it, too -- was the pub party that we hosted on Friday. We had approximately 400 fans attend it. And there were a lot that came from Kansas City, but there were also a lot that lived somewhere in Europe who are Chiefs fans and this was their chance to come to a game that wasn’t too far away. There were a lot that live here in the U.K.’’
Teams from the NFL’s bigger markets have mostly resisted giving up a home game to play internationally. The Chiefs are the first team to relinquish a home game that either wasn’t playing in an obsolete stadium or having trouble selling tickets, or both.
As the NFL expands its international footprint, it will need to remove more games from home U.S. markets. But Hunt, the chair of the NFL’s international committee, said small-market teams like Kansas City’s wouldn’t carry the entire burden of having to relinquish home games.
“I don’t see that at all,’’ Hunt said. “I think we’ll see more teams willing to give up home games. Going back to the first couple years of this series, I think there were very few that were willing to do it. But now there’s a bigger group and that’s going to grow in the future and that’s going to have to grow in the future. I don’t know what the number of international games that will be played but it could be six, it could be as many as eight one (year). And just practically, teams are going to have to give up home games. I think that there’s an acceptance that it’s good for the team, it’s not bad from a football standpoint and it gives you a chance to grow your brand.
“I think five years from now, we’re going to look back and there will be significantly more that have given up a home game. At that point is it going to be every team that has done it? I don’t know.”