The NFL is returning to Canada.
For an exhibition.
The Oakland Raiders confirmed on Wednesday that their August 22 preseason game against the Green Bay Packers will be played at IG Field, the home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The likelihood of the game was first reported last month.
By playing in Canada, the Raiders are going to make a bit of NFL history: they’ll be the first team to ever play in three countries in one season.
Oakland will of course play in the United States, but also are the home team for an October 6 game against the Chicago Bears at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
It’s all part of a pretty unfavorable schedule for the AFC West team; the Raiders play back-to-back home games to open the season and then because of the London game and their bye week don’t play another home game for seven weeks.
Winnipeg Free Press reporter Jeff Hamilton tweeted that the average ticket price for the game at the 33,000-seat stadium could exceed $200, which will make the NFL giddy.
Aaron Rodgers: The NFL is worldwide
This is the first game the NFL has had in Canada in six years, since the Buffalo Bills hosted the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 1, 2013 at Rogers Centre.
The last time the Packers played outside the United States was in 1998, when they played a preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Tokyo. Once this year’s slate of London games has been played, Green Bay will be the only NFL team that hasn’t played in the U.K. as part of the International Series.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he’s looking forward to the trip.
“I'm excited to get up there. It's fun to travel with the squad to a different country,” Rodgers said, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “We still haven't been to England yet, but hopefully this doesn't count as our out-of-the-country trip, 'cause I think a lot of us would still like to go to England.
“The popularity of the NFL is worldwide, and I was in Paris this offseason and went to a Packers bar. So, that just kinda shows you the reach of the NFL. I'm sure there's a bunch of Packer fans [in Canada], 'cause they're everywhere.”
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