Jaguars to play two London games in 2020 to boost revenue

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars are moving a second home game in 2020 overseas to London's Wembley Stadium in an attempt to increase their local revenue and escape the bottom quartile of the league in that category.

With the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders moving into new stadiums for the 2020 season, the Jaguars felt an additional home game in London -- which generates twice the money of a home game at TIAA Bank Field -- was the best way to offset the boost those teams will be receiving from those relocations and stabilize the long-term future of the franchise.

The Jaguars are spearheading a proposed $700 million entertainment district development around the stadium that would result in additional revenue, but until that happens Jaguars president Mark Lamping said adding another home game in London is the right action for the team to take.

"For clubs like the Jaguars, we are entering an uncertain time," Lamping said. "That uncertain time is related to three 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.

"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."

The games will be held on back-to-back Sundays; dates and opponents will be announced in April when the league reveals the schedule. However, the Jaguars did protect home games against Pittsburgh and Chicago, so the opponents will come from this list: Houston, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Cleveland, Detroit and Miami.

It's likely to be between mid-October and mid-November because the annual Florida-Georgia game is being played at TIAA Bank Field on Oct. 31 and the Jaguars have either played their London game that week or had a bye week at that time.

The Jaguars' contract with the NFL to play one home game annually at Wembley Stadium began in 2013 and expires after the 2020 season. Khan said previously he wanted to extend the deal beyond 2020 but the league declined to do so because the collective bargaining agreement with players expires after this season. Khan said on a conference call that he would not rule out possibly playing more than one home game in London beyond 2020, though.

Khan said he doesn't expect fans to react negatively to a second London home game.

"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," he said. "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."

The Jaguars have repeatedly stressed how critical playing in London is for their long-term stability in Jacksonville. The deal Khan struck with the NFL for those annual games granted the team extended territorial rights in the United Kingdom as well as receiving the ticket revenue from the game at the 90,000-seat stadium. Lamping has said the monies the Jaguars receive from that game account for 11% of the franchise's local revenue (down from 12% in 2016 and 15 percent in 2014).