Jaguars’ annual game in London a win for team, NFL and fans – Jacksonville Jaguars Blog

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Denver Broncos in London on Sunday (9:30 a.m. ET, ESPN+).

This is the first game of a new three-year contract to play an annual home game at Wembley Stadium. The Jaguars are poised to reap a significant financial advantage. So, potentially, will be the NFL in the future.

The Jaguars, who have full responsibility for the game and oversee operations, said they sold more than 86,000 tickets for this year’s edition at the 90,000-seat stadium, making it the highest-attended NFL game ever. the London International Series which began in 2007.

Taking into account the current exchange rate, the team expects ticket revenue to be 40% higher than the average 2022 regular season home game at TIAA Bank Field.

Watch live October 30: Broncos vs. Jaguars in London, only on ESPN+

These are numbers the NFL will be eager to see as the league views the three-year arrangement as the final step in the process of finally having a permanent franchise in London.

“If you look back to 2007 when we started playing international games, between then and now there’s been an evolution of a lot of different things in terms of how those games fit together,” he said. said NFL UK chief executive Henry Hodgson. “We played one game to start each year. We played more than one game. We played games on consecutive weekends. We’ve played games in different stadiums, and I think ultimately it’s the latest evolution, if you will, of this process of playing international games and playing them in the UK.

“And I guess to some degree or other it’s to see what we could do if there was a franchise in the UK?”

A permanent franchise in London has been discussed for years, and that idea was reinvigorated earlier this month when Commissioner Roger Goodell said that while logistics remained an issue, he believed the city could support two NFL franchises.

“…From a fan standpoint, from a business standpoint, from a media standpoint, I think [fans in the U.K.] have all proven that,” Goodell said at a fan event in the UK the day before the game between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. “I think the question is going to come down to, not so much the logistics of the trip, it’s clearly a challenge, it really comes down to whether you can do it competitively, where the team here or the teams in the States- United can come and continue to be competitive, and that was the challenge when we played the regular season games.

The Jaguars played one home game at Wembley Stadium in London from 2013-2019 and had planned to play two there in 2020 to boost local revenue, but both were canceled due to the pandemic.

The Jaguars returned to London last season but played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, beating the Miami Dolphins 23-20 to end a 20-game losing streak.

The team’s current three-year deal, which was approved by league owners in March at their spring meetings, differs from previous contracts as it allows the Jaguars to retain all game revenue. Each match will be played at Wembley Stadium.

This contract allows the Jaguars to significantly increase their local income. Earnings from previous London matches at Wembley have accounted for 11-15% of local franchise revenue.

“In the past, the league would be responsible for everything, like ticket sales, ticket prices, things like that,” Jaguars president Mark Lamping said. “Now everything is under our control. We know for a fact that this will be the biggest gate of any NFL game ever played in London in terms of ticket revenue. We are on a path that will be the biggest crowd, the most tickets sold, for an individual game. And we can’t wait to see what the stadium spending figures look like. So it would be merchandise, food, and drink, but it’s done exceptionally well.

The Jaguars would like to continue this arrangement with the NFL beyond the current agreement, which expires after the 2024 season. This is even after all hoped-for renovations to TIAA Bank Field – their stadium in Jacksonville – have been agreed upon and completed. over the next few years.

Lamping said the team did not currently plan to play multiple games a year in London and were not actively looking to play elsewhere internationally.

“I think we’ve been pretty consistent in that, you know, in a perfect world for us, we’ll still have a presence in London,” Lamping said. “And we believe that not only is it good for achieving our goals of a stable, strong NFL franchise located in a small market in northeast Florida, but it’s also been good for the city of Jacksonville. Every year, the city is having a trade mission around our game, and they’ve brought hundreds and hundreds of jobs back to Jacksonville from the UK This wouldn’t have happened without the presentations we help facilitate and the work that does the House.

“We think London is part of our DNA, and I think that makes it a lot easier given that every two years we have an extra home game.”

The Jaguars have five full-time employees in the UK, created a children’s flag football league called Jag Tag which has 90,000 participants and have signed sponsorship deals with several UK-based companies including Lycamobile, an international mobile virtual network operator.

There’s also Union Jax, a British Jaguars fan club which surpassed 80,000 members in 2018 – the team has developed a loyal following.

“I chose to support the Jaguars years ago when I entered the NFL just because they came to London every year, and that meant I could still see them regardless,” said Curt Smith of Manchester, UK. “My partner, who wasn’t in the NFL at the time and found it really boring to watch it on TV, came to my first Jaguars game years ago. The fact that it was live — she was instantly hooked. It’s now also one of her favorite weekends of the year.

Ian Pointer lives in Farnborough, Hampshire, around 40 miles from London. He started following the Jaguars in 2000 when he started watching the NFL. And he even made a trip to see the Jaguars play in Jacksonville in 2018.

“I’ll probably never have that chance again,” he said. “So seeing the Jags every year is my Teal Christmas.”

All of this, Hodgson said, is positive for the NFL as well as the Jaguars.

“We are absolutely in favor of [the Jaguars continuing to play an annual game in London]. We want this to continue,” Hodgson said. “…Fans all over the world, what we need to do is get them to support an NFL team. That’s how you grow the fandom.

“If the Jags can be part of that process with us and play here more often, inevitably there will be more fans who will be developed by that and become Jags fans and in turn become NFL fans. So I think it helps us a lot to have a team like the Jags that is committed for the long haul. »

Paul Macay, a Jaguars fan from St. Andrews, Scotland, however, does not want to see a permanent franchise in London. Even though interest in the NFL has grown, he doesn’t think fans would be willing to support seven or nine regular-season home games.

“The current international game format works well, with every game being sold out with fans from all 32 teams taking part in every game,” he said. “A huge percentage of fans who attend the game travel far and make it a weekend. Many, including me, couldn’t justify the expense of attending games at least eight times a season, so any initial demand may diminish. I sincerely hope the International Series continues, and as long as the Jaguars are in town, you’ll find me in a stadium seat shouting my support alongside all my ‘Duuuval’ friends.”

The Jaguars hope to take advantage of the fans in London on Sunday against the Broncos. They are 4-4 in London all-time, despite losing their last two at Wembley.

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