NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 24 — National Football League owners have apparently determined that games will be played in Germany before they will be played in Los Angeles.
During their meeting Tuesday, the owners passed a proposal to play regular-season games outside the United States, and they expressed skepticism that a stadium deal in Los Angeles could be reached.
Starting next season, the N.F.L. will play one international game, and starting in 2008, it could play two. The sites will be in Germany, Britain, Mexico or Canada, with a bidding process to determine where the games will be and which teams will participate.
“This is in response to the growing fan interest in our game overseas,” N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “There are more and more fans on a global basis.”
The N.F.L. seems to have more stadium options in a country like Germany — which was the site of the World Cup last summer — than it does in Los Angeles.
Goodell, in his first owners’ meeting as commissioner, said that the new estimated cost of a stadium in Los Angeles could reach $1 billion. Goodell attributed part of the estimate to the rising cost of steel and concrete, which is hampering stadium construction everywhere.
Goodell insisted that he would not abandon the idea of football in Los Angeles — “It’s a challenge we can meet,” he said — but several owners indicated that the price of a stadium was too high.
“Right now,” said Tom Benson, the New Orleans Saints’ owner, “I think it’s on the back burner.”
Owners also figure to lose money by moving home games across the border, but they stand to gain exposure. Last regular season, the Arizona Cardinals played the San Francisco 49ers in Mexico City, drawing a crowd of 103,467.
The N.F.L. has tried to build an international following since 1991, when it started the World League of American Football. But the 2005 game between the Cardinals and the 49ers was viewed as a truer gauge of interest.