The Jacksonville Jaguars prefer to play all future London games at Wembley Stadium, a venue that team owner Shad Khan recently attempted to purchase.
Over the last few months, there was plenty of intrigue surrounding the connection between the Jaguars and Wembley Stadium, as it was revealed earlier this year that Khan had offered to buy the venue from England’s Football Association. However, Khan announced last week that he had withdrawn his offer to buy the facility for £600 million (just under $790 million in American dollars).
While a permanent move of the Jaguars to London never seemed to be in play, Khan could have used Wembley Stadium for NFL games—the Jaguars have played there annually since 2013—along with English football and other events. Currently the Jaguars have an agreement to play annual London games until 2020, and are working to extend that deal. It is expected that all future Jaguars London games could be played at Wembley Stadium. In a recent interview, Jaguars president Mark Lamping indicated that the organization believes that Wembley Stadium is the best venue for games in London. More from the Evening Standard:
“Our conversations and our proposals to continue to play games in London will be conditioned on them being played at Wembley.
“We don’t control that — the NFL controls that — but our commitment here [in London] is tied to Wembley.
“For the Jacksonville Jaguars, Wembley is the best place to play our NFL games and that’s where we intend to play them. We think Wembley is the best place to play NFL in London. That’s our view — not necessarily shared by everyone — but we firmly believe that.”…
“Because the Wembley deal collapsed, that has no impact on the quality of this market,” he said. “For the Jacksonville Jaguars, who prefer to play at Wembley, all it really means is that if we’re going to continue to play there it’ll be as a tenant, rather than an owner.
The slate of NFL venues in London will become more intriguing with the opening of the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which is designed with an emphasis on the NFL and will host at least two regular-season games annually for 10 years. Construction delays prevented it from hosting games as scheduled this fall, but it should be ready well ahead of the 2019 season. Despite Tottenham’s opening, however, Wembley Stadium will remain a viable NFL venue, and clearly the Jaguars see it as something of a home away from home.
Image courtesy Wembley Stadium.