Why the Packers have never played an international game in the franchise’s history until Week 5 vs. Giants

The Green Bay Packers are one, if not the most famous franchise in NFL history. They were the first-ever Super Bowl champions, are littered with Hall of Fame talent throughout their existence, and are a pillar of the league’s unprecedented success. With that in mind, you’d think they’d hit every milestone imaginable, right? Well, Sunday’s Week 5 matchup against the New York Giants will herald a first for the 103-year-old franchise.

For the first time, they will play a regular-season game outside of the United States when they compete at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England. Previously, Green Bay was the only NFL team not to play in an international game.

The NFL has played games outside of the United States for decades and has regularly played games in London since 2007 to expand its overall reach. So why not take one of their best assets and bring it to the world stage? ? They probably did, but it’s the Packers who have routinely refused to play outside the country.

The reason is that they didn’t want to lose a home game off schedule. Green Bay, considered the smallest market in the NFL, would have a drastic economic impact if they decided to take a regular-season home game from Lambeau Field. As the Green Bay Press Gazette notes that the impact of a regular-season game in Green Bay is estimated at $15 million. For a team that doesn’t have a traditional owner more suited to growing its franchise’s international brand, that expense was just too much for the Packers to leave town for a weekend.

Meanwhile, they could technically have been seen as an option for a team that has hosted an international game in the past, but those clubs were also opposed as the Packers’ lure meant a big draw – and effectively a guaranteed sell-out – with them is home stadiums.

So what has changed? Along with the NFL’s transition to a 17-game schedule, owners also agreed that each team will play at least one international game during an eight-year period beginning in 2022. Up to four teams from the conference whose teams were eligible for a ninth home game of the regular season would instead be called an international neutral game. That fell to the Packers this season.

This isn’t the first time the Packers have left the country, but it will be their first regular-season game played internationally. They have played three international preseason games in the past, the most recent being against the Raiders in Winnipeg in 2019.