The Raiders have been working for months to move a preseason home game to Canada. They evaluated different sites and had some starts and stops, but finally got an agreement to play a Week 3 exhibition against Green Bay in Winnipeg.
Sources told NBC Sports Bay Area that the game will be played on Aug. 22 at Investors Group Field, home of the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Raiders officially announced the game in a press release Wednesday morning.
The Valour FC soccer team, of the Canadian Premier League is also scheduled to play there on Aug. 22, but that game will be rescheduled or moved.
The Raiders have long been looking to ship an exhibition game away from home, which decreases 2019 rent to play this season at Oakland Coliseum and provides a money-making opportunity in a NFL-hungry market where the league has never played. The Packers should help the draw, considering Green Bay’s proximity to Winnipeg.
Fans won’t have to choose between the NFL and the CFL, with the Blue Bombers set to play an away game on Aug. 23.
The Raiders originally looked to play this game in Regina at Mosaic Stadium, home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, but scheduling conflicts created an impasse.
They also considered Edmonton after that, but zeroed in on Winnipeg a while back despite no formal announcement on this exhibition game, the only hole in the NFL 2019 schedule.
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Playing at this neutral site means the Raiders will play three exhibitions away from home and only eight more times in Oakland before 2020’s expected relocation to Las Vegas.
They have also given up a regular-season home game to play the Chicago Bears in London on Oct. 6.
The Raiders’ trip to Canada is not going well. They gave away a preseason home game to play the Green Bay Packers in Winnipeg and, let’s be honest, decrease the rent owed to Oakland Coliseum.
The exhibition has been compromised by concerns over the artificial playing surface at IG Field, host to a CFL team and a professional soccer club. Most notably, by a hole in one of the end zones.
Canadian football is played on different field dimensions, so the place where CFL goal posts are set land right in the middle of an NFL end zone.
Officials grew concerned about the issue, and after an attempt to remedy the issue and a several discussions between Raiders and Packers officials, the teams decided to play on an 80-yard field. Officials put pylons on the 10-yard line to mark the start of the end zone.
Yeah, you read that right.
It was a solution decided just before the proposed 5 p.m. Thursday kickoff, one made to salvage the experience for a market new to NFL football and get some work in just a few weeks before the regular season begins.
The Raiders weren’t expected to play their frontline starters before all this. The Packers pulled all of their impact starters, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receiver Davante Adams.
There shouldn't be any love lost between Antonio Brown the people of Pittsburgh. After the star receiver forced the Steelers to trade him to the Raiders this past offseason, the Steel City faithful have every reason to never want to see AB84 and his antics ever again.
And yet, like a lover pining after the one who used to have their heart, the fine folks of Pittsburgh apparently can't look away.
With the helmet drama and feet ailment swirling around Brown and the Raiders this offseason, everyone wanted to tune into "Hard Knocks" to see how the drama would unfold this past Tuesday. That includes those in Pittsburgh. More than most, apparently.
When the viewership numbers for the latest episode of HBO's training camp documentary were released, it showed that Pittsburgh viewership numbers were more than triple (!) the national average.
That, of course, was music to Brown's ears and he made it known with a quick jab on Twitter.
Maybe it's more like a watching a car wreck and they just can't turn away? Or they want to have a good laugh at the predicament the Raiders now find themselves in. One Steelers fans know all too well.
But it's no surprise AB doesn't see it that way.
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Brown practiced with a "certified helmet" Tuesday, but he is not expected to play the Packers on Thursday in Winnipeg.
It appears the seven-time Pro-Bowl receiver will don the Silver and Black for the first time Week 1 when the Broncos visit the Coliseum on "Monday Night Football."