Because the Packers never played an international game in franchise history until Week 5 against the Giants

The Green Bay Packers are one of, if not the, most storied franchises in NFL history. They were the first Super Bowl champions, are loaded 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 game against the New York Giants will be a first for the 103-year-old franchise.

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

The NFL has been playing games outside the US for decades and has been playing regular games in London since 2007 in an effort to expand its overall reach, so why wouldn’t they want to take one of their best assets and put it on the world stage? They probably did, but it’s the Packers who routinely refuse to play out of the country.

The reason for this is that they didn’t want to lose an off-schedule home game. Green Bay, considered the smallest market in the NFL, would have a drastic financial impact if they decided to take a regular season home game away from Lambeau Field. As the Green Bay Press-Gazette notes, 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, who might be more capable of growing their franchise’s international brand, that cost was simply too much for the Packers to leave town for a weekend.

Meanwhile, they could technically have been considered an option for a team to host an international game in the past, but those clubs were also opposed, as the lure of the Packers is a major draw — and essentially a guaranteed sale — for the home stadiums.

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

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

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