The biggest game in American sports is coming to the Tampa Bay region in 2021. Before that, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to help take America's most popular sport global.
On Wednesday, the National Football League announced that the Buccaneers will be one of five teams to host a home regular-season game outside of the United States in 2019 as part of the league's International Series. The date, venue and opponent for the contest will be revealed next spring but it will count as one of Tampa Bay's 10 home games in 2019. The opportunity to represent the NFL outside of the United States is a byproduct of Super Bowl LV being awarded to the Bay area last year.
"Our league's global presence continues to grow and expand through the success of the NFL International Series and we look forward to showcasing the Buccaneer organization to an international audience," said Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford.
NFL owners passed a resolution in 2014 that requires teams that are part of a successful Super Bowl bid to play one home game abroad within the next five seasons. The resolution is part of an ongoing effort to grow the league's International Series, which this season included three games in London and a fourth that was originally slated for Mexico City before being moved to Los Angeles.
This will mark the third time that the franchise has played a regular-season game abroad. The Buccaneers played midseason games in London in 2009 and 2011. The Bucs also played a preseason game in Tokyo in August of 2003, representing the NFL as the defending Super Bowl champions.
The Buccaneers will play nine home games at Raymond James Stadium in 2019, the same venue that will host Super Bowl LV in February of 2021. It will be the fifth Super Bowl played in Tampa and the third at Raymond James Stadium, which most recently hosted the championship game on February 1, 2009.