The NFL's Rams franchise, recently moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles, was announced Wednesday as the team that would star in HBO's annual television showcase "Hard Knocks." The news cames as multiple outlets reported this week that the Rams were expected to play in a 2018 regular season game in China.
HBO's summer series "Hard Knocks" follows a team through training camp, going behind the scenes as the NFL season gets under way. "We are thrilled that the 11th edition of 'Hard Knocks' will spotlight a team from the NFC West Division for the first time,” said Peter Nelson, executive vice president of HBO Sports, in a statement. “It’s exciting to chronicle a franchise with so many compelling storylines, highlighted by the team’s return to the Los Angeles market and the enormously warm reception the Rams are experiencing."
A 30-person NFL Films crew will be at the Rams' Southern California training camp. The show is set to debut Aug. 9 and end about a month later Sept. 6. It will follow the Rams after the franchise successfully secured its offseason move to L.A. through a plan that offered to build a massive stadium complex in Inglewood, California.
"This is an exciting time for our franchise," said Rams head coach Jeff Fisher in a statement. "'Hard Knocks' will be an outstanding way to bring our fans into our training camp and preseason, and give a glimpse of the hard work and dedication of our players, coaches and staff as we prepare for the 2016 season."
Meanwhile, the L.A. Times' Sam Farmer, alongside others, reported the Rams were set to be the "home team" in a 2018 NFL game in China. NFL media's Albert Breer was less definitive, but also reported the Rams were likely to play in the game.
"NFL working on the idea of putting a regular season game in China for 2018, and I'm told the likelihood is the Rams would be the home team," Breer posted on Twitter. The news that the Rams were likely to host the China game follows reports Monday that the NFL would play a game in the country.
The NFL previously looked into playing a game in China in 2007, then moved the game to 2009, but it never ended up happening.
There will be a 2018 game in China with the Los Angeles Rams as the home team.
— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) March 23, 2016
UPDATE: Source tells @NFLonFOX that NFL could play regular season game in China as early as 2018.Handful of teams already expressed interest
— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) March 21, 2016
It was unclear which NFL franchise was expected to face off against the Rams in the potential China game. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reported that the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, among others, were possible opponents.
Teams potentially facing Rams in China in 2018: Green Bay, Minnesota, Kansas City, San Diego, Seattle, Arizona, #49ers & TBD NFC East team.
— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) March 23, 2016