The Jacksonville Jaguars will play two home games at London’s Wembley Stadium next season, leaving six regular-season contests at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars released details on Tuesday that included plans to play two 2020 regular-season home games at Wembley Stadium. A full schedule was not included in the announcement, so some details–including dates and opponents in London–will likely not be revealed until the NFL releases its 2020 slate. According to the announcement, the London games will be played over consecutive weeks.
Ties between the Jaguars and London are strong, as the team has played one regular-season game there annually since 2013. This announcement, however, is notable in that it makes the Jaguars the first team in NFL history to play two home games outside the United States in the same season and leaves the team with six regular-season games at TIAA Bank Field in 2020, the lowest total in franchise history. More from the Florida Times-Union:
[Jaguars president Mark] Lamping also announced the Jaguars will be introducing a variable pricing plan, in which games against marquee opponents will be priced slightly higher.
However, the Jaguars are reducing the ticket prices of preseason games by 50 percent, and season-ticket holders will pay 15 percent less in 2020 than they paid in 2019, Lamping said.
“For teams like the Jaguars, we are entering a period of significant change within the league,” Lamping said. “This has been precipitated by the move of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas to their new stadium and the relocation of the San Diego Chargers and the St. Louis Rams to Los Angeles. All three of those teams will benefit from moving into their new stadiums this summer. Those teams were at the bottom of the league in terms of revenue, which is a key metric. ”
In their announcement on Tuesday, the Jaguars billed the scheduling of two London games as part of a strategy to make their operations in Jacksonville more sustainable by opening up revenue sources to boost the team’s bottom line. Under owner Shad Khan, the Jaguars have already completed a variety of stadium upgrades and redeveloped the surrounding area through projects like the Daily’s Place amphitheater. The team, in partnership with Baltimore-based developer Cordish Companies, is in ongoing discussions with the city about expanding its redevelopment efforts, as it is working to finalize plans for a project that would include a mixed-use development over TIAA Bank Field’s Lot J.
Jaguars leadership billed the development efforts and the franchise’s efforts to build relationships in London as being part of the strategy to bolster its bottom line.
“Our work to create new sources of revenue to help us improve our long-term outlook and commitment to operating a thriving franchise in Jacksonville will continue and never end,” Jaguars president Mark Lamping said in a press statement issued Tuesday. “For the past seven seasons, our London strategy has been a game-changer. No single approach, including London, will answer the many challenges that are common with any market the size of Jacksonville. However, playing two games in London at Wembley Stadium, where we have outstanding relationships, at least next season and perhaps in future years during construction, will help us bridge the gap between now and when we expect the Lot J development to open. Jacksonville’s potential is unlimited, and I am confident we can realize it, with the Jaguars serving as the catalyst.”
“I believe in what’s possible for Jacksonville and am going to do whatever it takes to help the Jaguars and the City of Jacksonville to reach its full potential,” Khan said in a statement. “What we plan for the 2020 season and maybe a bit longer is all about believing in what Jacksonville can ultimately become, all while continuing to further grow and develop partnerships and a fan following in London and throughout the UK that have turned out to be pretty remarkable.”
The Jaguars are currently in an agreement to play annual games at Wembley Stadium that runs through the 2020 season. As noted, opponents for the London contests have not been announced, though the Jaguars stated on Tuesday that home games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears would be played in Jacksonville.
Image courtesy Wembley Stadium.