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NFL not yet thinking about playing a game in Australia

2017 US College Football Sydney Cup

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: The Stanford Cardinals take to the field before the College Football Sydney Cup match between Stanford University (Stanford Cardinal) and Rice University (Rice Owls) at Allianz Stadium on August 27, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

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It’s been 18 years since the NFL played a preseason game in Australia. The league doesn’t seem to be inclined to return any time soon.

After Stanford and Rice played in Australia over the weekend, the league was asked whether it would return. NFL spokesman Michael Signora told the Sydney Daily Telegraph, via SportsBusiness Daily, that the league “wasn’t optimistic” about staging a game there, citing travel distance and time zones as the primary impediments.

“Even a preseason game would be incredibly challenging to arrange,” Signora said.

Australian Colin Scotts, who played in the NFL, disagrees.

“There’s no reason we can’t,” Scotts said. “The success in London -- they’ve sold it out the last eight years, they’re just killing it over there. I want to play a real game. I don’t want any preseason and I don’t want any trial game, I want it to be for real like they do in London. . . . London does it, there’s no reason Sydney can’t do it.”

There may be no reason Sydney can’t, but Sydney won’t unless the NFL wants it to. It seems pretty clear that, despite the NFL’s obvious interest in exporting the game to other countries, the league has no desire to go down under.