JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars have long-term plans in place to generate more revenue. They expect to break ground on an entertainment district adjacent to their aging stadium this spring and eventually hope to develop the shipyards along the St. Johns River.
Both are years from completion.
In the meantime, the Jaguars have found a short-term solution: another home game in London.
Jacksonville announced Tuesday it has reached an agreement with the NFL to play consecutive home games at Wembley Stadium next season, doubling the franchise's overseas income and potentially strengthening its foothold in a market the NFL wants to expand.
Fan reaction surely will be mixed, at best.
“My expectation is that it should be very positive," said owner Shad Khan, adding that he doesn't believe playing two games abroad puts his team at a competitive disadvantage. "Everything we’re doing helps the city, helps us. And that’s what you need a small-market team to do to get on competitive footing with ... all the big-market teams.”
The Jaguars will play back-to-back games at Wembley to bolster revenue during “a period of significant change within the league,” team President Mark Lamping said. Dates and opponents were not announced. Jacksonville protected home games against Pittsburgh and Chicago, so those teams will play at TIAA Bank Field.
Lamping said the recent relocation of the Chargers, Raiders and Rams will move all three out of the NFL's bottom fourth in local revenue. Jacksonville remains there, searching for ways out.