The Jaguars’ London series will take the team out of the country for regular season games over the next several years as it tries to build an international fan base, the team and NFL officials announced.
The news first broke from The Florida Times-Union‘s Vito Stellino on Twitter, who said that league commissioner Roger Goodell would hold press conference to announce the Jaguars’ London series. Stellino noted that the series has implications beyond football, with new team owner Shahid Khan hoping to brand his team internationally.
“(Khan) is an international businessman who thinks London games will raise profile of Jags and the city internationally,” Stellino wrote.
The Jaguars had an opening to start a London series after the St. Louis Rams decided not to continue their series in the UK. The team had agreed to give up a home game for the next three seasons to “host” a game in London, but the Rams announced last week that they would no longer play there in 2013 and 2014, Sports Illustrated noted.
The Rams final game in London takes place this October 28 against the New England Patriots.
The Rams departure from the UK left an opening for the Jaguars’ London ambitions. The move makes sense for the Jaguars, a team with a tepid fan base and one that came close to leaving the city before Khan stepped in to buy the team last year, USA Today noted.
The Jaguars, which regularly have games at EverBank Field blacked out locally for not selling out, could be a good candidate to develop a fan base overseas, Khan said last year.
“The NFL is going to be developing an international fan base. Why shouldn’t it be the Jaguars?” Khan said last year. “In all honesty, internationally, they don’t know the difference between the Jaguars and the Steelers.”
The Jaguars’ London series would begin in 2013.