Oakland Raiders

Raiders love NFL international games. Do they hurt local economies? Packers think so.

Raiders fans stand outside Azteca Stadium before Oakland plays the Houston Texans on Monday in Mexico City.
Raiders fans stand outside Azteca Stadium before Oakland plays the Houston Texans on Monday in Mexico City. Associated Press file

The NFL has been making a push to be a more international sports league.

The Green Bay Packers’ CEO isn’t a fan, especially if it means losing a game at Lambeau Field.

Mark Murphy reportedly told shareholders Monday that the team would “never” swap a home date for an international game, citing the small town’s economy.

However, some teams enjoy playing outside of the United States. One of those squads is the Raiders.

Oakland has played two regular-season games in other countries and is scheduled to meet the defending champion New England Patriots this season in Mexico City.

“I think it’s something nice to do, taking the NFL to Mexico City,” Raiders offensive tackle Donald Penn told the San Francisco Chronicle before facing the Houston Texans south of the border last season. “I know we have a huge Latino following, so it should be like a home game with a lot of fans in there rocking. I am looking forward to it.”

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio also seemed to be a fan.

“I know it’s going to be a great atmosphere,” Del Rio told the Chronicle. “It sold out quickly. People are going to be excited to put on a good show down there.”

The Raiders beat the Texans 27-20 on Nov. 21. Their other international game came in 2014, when they lost 38-14 to the Miami Dolphins in London.

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Jose Luis Torres sells 49ers items outside Azteca Stadium on Oct. 2, 2005, in Mexico City. The 49ers played the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL’s first regular-season game outside the United States. Dario Lopez-Mills Associated Press file

The 49ers helped kick off the NFL International series, losing 31-14 to the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City on Oct. 2, 2005.

“Fans around the world can take notice of the way these people are, their passion about the game,” Mike Nolan, who was the 49ers’ coach at the time, told The Associated Press following the loss. “It was exciting to play the game for both teams today, and they certainly latched on to the team that was ahead at the end, because early on, we had them on our side.”

San Francisco has played three games on foreign soil, which is tied for the second most among NFL teams.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have played an international game each of the last four seasons and will face Baltimore in London this season. It will be the Ravens’ first game outside the U.S.

There have been 19 games played in the NFL International series, all played in either London or Mexico City. With the exception of 2006, there’s been at least one game each year since the NFL kicked off the program in 2005. The series does not include Buffalo’s six home games played in Toronto.

With Cleveland getting its first taste of international play this season, only five teams have not played outside of the country: Carolina, Green Bay, Philadelphia, Seattle and Tennessee.

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