PALM BEACH, Fla. — Ahead of the NFL's schedule release, the Broncos' top decision makers all voiced their support for the team's potential to play an international game in 2022.
"There's some games in London this year," President/CEO Joe Ellis said Monday. "I'd love to see us. We play the Jaguars [on the road]. We'll see if that becomes a possibility. I don't know right now for sure. But I've expressed interest on behalf of the team. Coach [Nathaniel] Hackett is bullish on it, George [Paton] is bullish on it, Russell Wilson is bullish on it. We're lobbying as hard as we can."
The Jaguars were previously announced as a home team for a London game, and the Broncos are slated to travel to play Jacksonville this season. Denver last played an international game in 2010, when the Broncos traveled to London.
"It's good for the organization," Ellis said. "It's good for branding purposes, but it's also good for the team. It brings the team together. I think the period of time where they kind of have a mini training camp, gather, be together, have all the meals together, socialize together, practice, get ready for a game. It's a good experience for teams. Everybody that's gone over has liked it."
Added Paton: "That would be great. I've done it two times when I was with the Vikings, and I think it's a great opportunity for our brand, for our football team. It's always good, I think, to get away, and it brings teams together if you do it the right way. If that happens, that would be great, look forward to it."
Ellis said Paton and Hackett are also open to playing a game in Munich, Germany in the future — and he also hopes to see the Broncos travel to Mexico.
The Broncos were recently selected to receive an International Home Market Area (IHMA) in Mexico, and several Denver executives have spent the last several days in Mexico to continue to reach out to their fan base.
"We kicked off our relationship with Mexico here this past week," Ellis said. "I don't know if you saw that, but [Senior VP of Strategy] Brittany Bowlen, [Senior Manager of Fan Development] Marisol Villagomez, [Senior Director of Marketing] Ted Santiago were down there along with [outside linebacker] Bradley Chubb and [Hall of Famer] Steve Atwater to establish our International Home Market [Area] relationship with Mexico. Someday, we'd like to play down there — sooner rather than later."
The Broncos won't play in Mexico City this season; Arizona has already been designated to receive a 2022 "home" game in Mexico, and the Broncos host the Cardinals this year. In the short-term, a trip to London would be the Broncos' only opportunity to play abroad in 2022.
"I would love it," Hackett said of playing in London. "I was lucky enough to do that four times when I was at Jacksonville, and I loved the experience. We played at Wembley, and I think everybody needs to witness that — fans, I want my family to see it. There's so many great things about it. It is an incredible atmosphere out there in the London."