If you're a Bengals fan who likes to see every game, you've got some traveling to do in the next year or so.
The Bengals will take their act overseas next season, and head to London's famed Wembley Stadium, which seats 90,000. They will play the Washington Redskins on Oct. 30 after being selected by the NFL for the league’s International Series schedule in 2016. The announcement was made Wednesday morning.
Former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is currently the Redskins' head coach, so it could be a reunion of sorts for the Bengals, head coach Marvin Lewis and his staff.
Wembley Stadium opened in 2007, on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished in 2003. The new Wembley is the second largest stadium in Europe and the largest in the United Kingdom.
From the Bengals:
The Bengals have been selected by the NFL for the league’s International Series in 2016, with Cincinnati hosting a regular-season game against the Washington Redskins on Oct. 30, at Wembley Stadium in London.
The Bengals and Redskins will join the ranks of 21 NFL teams which already have played regular-season games in London in the current International Series format (begun in 2007). The Week 8 contest will air live on FOX Network affiliates in the Bengals home market, including WXIX-TV (Channel 19) in Cincinnati. Kickoff time is yet to be announced.
“We are proud to be a part of the NFL’s initiative to grow our game abroad, and we believe this game will be a source of pride for Cincinnati as well,” said Bengals President Mike Brown. “It will provide a strong platform for our region’s culture and recent progress. And we’ve long known that we have fans in London and the U.K. A number have visited Cincinnati for games over the years. We know they will be out to cheer us on, along with fans from our area who choose to travel to the game.”
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said, “We’re excited to take our team to London and take on the Washington Redskins. We’re proud to show off the NFL game. And we always look for ways to keep a long season fresh and exciting for players. I know our players will respond well to this opportunity.”
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley termed the game as “an opportunity for us to show an international audience what Cincinnati is all about.
“I can't think of a better way for us to leverage one of our best assets, the Bengals, to promote our city to businesses and tourists in the U.K.,” Cranley said.
Dan Lincoln, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cincy USA, is among local civic leaders applauding the decision.
“A game like this is an incredible opportunity for the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau,” Lincoln said. “We're working to attract meetings, conventions, events and visitors from all over the world. This puts Cincinnati front and center on the world stage, and we'll have a chance to give meeting planners and business leaders a glimpse into the amazing convention environment and visitor experience we can offer here.”
Johnna Reeder, President and CEO of REDI Cincinnati, said, ”Cincinnati is a world-class destination for business, yet people across the pond don't often get the chance to learn about our great architecture, arts and culture, and culinary influences. Now we'll get to bring that Cincinnati experience and our rich European heritage right to London. This opens a door to tell the Cincinnati story to a new international audience that's learning what a special place this is to visit, to do business, to host high-profile events.”
Two other regular season games will be played in London in 2016. On October 2, the Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Indianapolis Colts (Wembley Stadium), and on October 23, the St. Louis Rams will host a to-be-determined NFC opponent (Twickenham Stadium). This will bring the number of NFL teams which have participated to potentially 24 (75 percent of all NFL teams).
Information regarding tickets to the game and travel packages will be available at a later date. To receive updates on tickets and travel packages, fans may register on the Bengals’ web site, putting Bengals.com/London in their browsers. Priority access to tickets will be provided to Bengals Season Ticket Members.