- Jaguars to play 2 home games in London next season in order to boost local revenue
- Average London game generates twice as much revenue for the Jaguars as an average home game in Jacksonville
- Rams, Chargers, Raiders all expected to see big revenue growth by opening new stadiums next season
Later this year, 3 NFL teams will be moving into sparkling new stadiums. The Raiders will officially make their move from Oakland to Las Vegas’ brand-new Allegiant Stadium, while the Rams and Chargers will vacate their respective temporary Los Angeles homes for SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
All 3 teams are expected to see massive bumps in revenue thanks to their new digs. The Jacksonville Jaguars won’t be among the teams moving to new homes in 2020, but the Jags are trying their hardest to boost their own revenue in the new season.
Jaguars Trying to Boost Revenue
On Tuesday, the Jaguars officially announced that they will play a second home game at London’s Wembley Stadium next season. Jacksonville is trying to shake things up in order to escape the bottom of the league in revenue.
The Jaguars believe that an additional home game in London will be the best way for the team to offset the added revenues the Raiders, Rams and Chargers will enjoy next season. According to ESPN, the average London game generates twice the revenue of an average home game at Jacksonville’s TIAA Bank Field for the Jaguars.
The Jaguars are reportedly set to invest $700 million in an entertainment district development around the stadium that will eventually boost revenues, but until that happens the team believes playing another game overseas is the best move for the franchise’s long-term viability.
Mark Lamping, the Jaguars’ team president, said, “For clubs like the Jaguars, we are entering an uncertain time. That uncertain time is related to 3 teams that in the past were teams that were with us in the bottom of the league in terms of revenue. They have taken steps, steps that we would not consider, but they’ve taken steps to fix their revenue by leaving Oakland, by leaving St. Louis, and by leaving San Diego. That has had an impact in terms of all the other teams that are where we are in terms of the league.”
London Games to Be Held Back-to-Back Sundays
The official dates of the London games will be unveiled when the NFL announces its full season schedule in April. Both London games will be held in consecutive weeks in order to minimize travel time on the team.
The Jaguars have reserved their scheduled home games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears for the Jacksonville portion of the schedule. That means both of the Jaguars’ London games will come from this crop of opponents: Houston, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Detroit, Miami, and Cleveland.
The franchise has had a contract with the NFL to play at least one home game at Wembley Stadium every season since 2013. That deal will expire after the upcoming 2020 campaign. However, team owner Shad Khan has previously said that he would like to extend the contract further.
While the team has interest in doing so, the NFL has declined the team’s overtures because the league’s current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire after the upcoming season. On a recent conference call, Khan said that he would not rule out the idea of playing multiple games in London every season beyond the 2020 campaign.
Lamping added, “We know that Lot J [the name for the proposed entertainment district], in conjunction with all the things that [owner] Shad [Khan] has already invested in, those will continue to pay dividends for us but we can’t snap our fingers and get Lot J open tomorrow. So we’re waiting to go from where we are now, which is Lot J just a vision, to it actually being open. We need to be looking for those opportunities to supplement our revenue situation and we believe that London fits that bill.”
Playing 2 home games in London means the Jags will play just 6 regular season games in their home stadium in Jacksonville next season. While that does raise concerns about rubbing the team’s home fans the wrong way, Khan believes the fans will stick with the team.
He said, “I think if you go back when the first game was announced and really historically what that’s done for the city and done for the Jaguars, so my expectation is that it should be very positive. Everything we’re doing helps the city, helps us, and that’s what you need a small-market team to do to get on a competitive footing with all the resources you need to compete with the other big-market teams.”
London Crucial to Jaguars’ Viability
The Jaguars have maintained that the London games are critical to the team’s plans to stay in Jacksonville long-term. The team’s current pact with the league extends the Jags’ territorial rights to the United Kingdom, which means the Jaguars receive all of the ticket revenue for the games that take place at the 90,000-seat facility.
Lamping added that the money the Jaguars receive from their annual London games account for 11 percent of the team’s local revenue on a yearly basis.
The Jaguars playing 2 home games away from their hometown will presumably not affect the team’s Super Bowl odds next season. Jacksonville, who finished dead-last in the AFC South with a 6-10 record last season, is currently listed at +8000 to win Super Bowl 55 at BetOnline. Only the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins (+10000 apiece) have longer odds.