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Playing in China interesting, but probably not for Lions

Team president Rod Wood handles the business side of things for the Detroit Lions organization. To him, it certainly makes sense for the NFL to explore the idea of tapping into the Chinese market.

The NFL is hoping to play a regular-season game in China in 2018 for the first time in league history, which would potentially bring the game to 1.38 billion new people.

General manager Bob Quinn handles the football operations side for the Lions, and it certainly makes sense that he's not a big fan of the idea of having to uproot the weekly routine and travel 6,623 miles with a 12-hour time change to play a regular-season game.

"I kind of nudged Bob (Quinn) when that was announced and told him that I might be interested in taking the team to China, is that okay?" Wood said at the NFL League Meetings last week.

"He's not in favor of it, so I don't think we're going to do it, unless the schedulers deal us a two or something in poker."

The Lions played in the NFL International Series in London each of the last two seasons as a road team without giving up a home game at Ford Field.

"I think it's interesting," Wood said of the NFL's exploration into the Chinese market. "I mean, the NFL is a great sport, we have a great opportunity to expand internationally to increase revenues. The London series has been great. We've played in it for the last two years, they're doing the game in Mexico (Raiders vs. Texans Nov. 21, 2016).

"China's the biggest country in the world. China has a huge following for the NBA, so if we could get over there it would probably benefit the league from a financial standpoint.

"I think if the NFL taps into that Chinese market, you know, there's more sponsorship opportunities, there's more revenue opportunities, the brand gets bigger worldwide and the whole NFL benefits from that."

But Wood was also realistic of the hardships a trip like that would put on the football operations side of things.

"I'm not sure a 20-hour road trip is something I'd sign up for, unless we understand how it's going to work and how they're going to get you there and what kind of accommodations before and after the game they're going to provide," Wood said. "But it's really an interesting idea."

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