In a move that had been expected for quite some time now, the Jacksonville Jaguars announced today that they will begin playing two home games at Wembley Stadium in London, starting in 2020 and continuing for at least the next few years.
The team did not announce which specific games would be played in London, but it did indicate that the two games will be on consecutive weekends, and that the Jags will at the very least face both the Chicago Bears and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Jacksonville. That leaves the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, and Miami Dolphins as possible London opponents.
As compensation for the loss of a home game, 2020 Jaguars season ticket holders are expected to spend 15% less than they would have for the same package last year, in addition to a “strong benefits package with features both new and improved” to be announced at a later date.
The Jaguars’ press release pitched the move as being “strategically aligned” to allow for the development of the team’s plans for Lot J at TIAA Bank Field. It also highlighted $100 million in private investments from the team, led by owner Shad Khan, and made references to helping Jacksonville reach “its full potential.”
“This isn’t about next season or the next few seasons in Jacksonville, but really about the next 10 years, 25 years and beyond,” said Khan. “There is no better time than now to capitalize on the opportunity to play two home games in London, where we will continue to develop our loyal and growing fan base there and throughout the UK, during a period in which I will be focused heavily on creating a new downtown experience that we want, need and must have here.”
The move is currently being pitched as temporary, with team president Mark Lamping indicating the arrangement will last “at least next season and perhaps in future years during construction.”
Khan, in turn, referred to the timeline as “the 2020 season and maybe a bit longer.”
The team first began playing one home game in London in 2013. At the time, the team pitched the move as necessary for its continued survival in a small market like Jax.
When combined with Khan’s attempted purchase of Wembley Stadium in 2018, and the team’s retention of most of its staff following another disappointing season, the news of a second London game will likely be a hard sell to Jags fans who have already grown weary of the franchise’s leadership. Nonetheless, the team seems determined to grow its overseas presence.
More details on the London games, and changes to season ticket packages, will be available once the season ticket renewal process opens.