SBD/Issue 86/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NFL Selects Broncos-49ers For London Game At Wembley Stadium

Broncos, 49ers Will Travel To London In
October As Part Of NFL's International Series
The Broncos and 49ers will "travel to London for a regular-season game" on October 31 as part of the NFL's International Series, and the contest will be considered a home game for the 49ers, according to Daniel Brown of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. It will mark the "fourth consecutive season in which the NFL has held a regular-season game at Wembley Stadium." The 49ers have played two previous exhibition games at Wembley -- in '88 and '92 -- while this is their "second international appearance that will count in the standings," having played the Cardinals in Mexico City in '05. The game will air on CBS at 1:00pm ET. 49ers TE Vernon Davis said, "I can't wait to go over there and show all of Europe what 49ers football is all about." 49ers LB Patrick Willis: "I couldn't think of a better way to get to visit England than to go there doing something I love to do." A 49ers official said that the financial details of the arrangement are still being worked out, but the team is "not expected to lose revenue by giving up a home date." Meanwhile, the NFL reiterated that it "will continue to explore adding a second game this season" in the U.K. (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/16). Manchester and Glasgow are "being looked at as potential venues" for the second game (AP, 1/15). The game will mark the "first time in more than 50 years that the Broncos will play a regular season game outside" of the U.S. (DENVER POST, 1/16).

THINKING ABOUT TIME: Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Bill Romanowski said the trip "is going to be hard" for the 49ers, as there is an eight-hour tim difference from S.F. to London. Romanowski: "This is going to be something that I think will take them two, three, maybe four weeks to get over that kind of jet lag." Santa Rosa Press Democrat reporter Lowell Cohn: "They should have used an East Coast team for this. I don't like the idea of the 49ers going through all of those time zones, and as you say, it takes time to recover." Sacramento Bee reporter Paul Gutierrez: "It's kind of a pain to get over there and have to deal with it, but at the same time, it's like a Monday night game. It's going to be the only game that is on in the entire country, as well as another entire country. Their eyeballs are all going to be on this game. So that kind of comes with it" ("Chronicle Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 1/15).

IS LONDON EVEN CALLING? In S.F., Ray Ratto wrote why England "would consider this a gift" from the NFL "is beyond us, but at least there was enough sensitivity displayed that the NFL didn't send" the Buccaneers. The Glazers own both the Buccaneers and Manchester United, and the ManU situation, which "can properly be considered potentially disastrous, is why putting an NFL game in Europe right now seems so odd." English soccer is "awash in bad debt and shaky clubs, and so yet another incursion from the NFL will look profoundly discordant" (SFGATE.com, 1/15).

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