According to the Associated Press (via ESPN), the Jacksonville Jaguars are set to take England by storm and play a total of four home games in London, one each year from 2013 to 2016. While the games in London present a big-time revenue opportunity for the Jags, the decision to take them could also backfire.
The Jaguars are the NFL's least-popular team, so attempting to expand the franchise's reach to a new market isn't a bad idea for owner Shad Khan. In fact, growing the team's fanbase is exactly what Jacksonville needs to increase its brand globally.
This doesn't mean Jacksonville will eventually be the franchise that ends up in London. At this point, I have a really hard time seeing that happen—especially because the rest of the owners would have to approve such a move, and they are unlikely to do so because of the logistical issues it would cause their own teams.
The advantages to the Jaguars are that it will expose them to a new market of fans and will give them several home games in that market. It will also help the local fans in one big way: season ticket packages will be reduced.
Instead of having to purchase a 10-game package, local fans would only have to pay for nine games. In theory, that would make them cheaper. And that could lead to more fans in the stands during home games.
The added revenue of opening a fanbase in London will also have an effect on the franchise at home as well.
The downside in all of this is that there is no guarantee the Jaguars will resonate with Londoners. Instead, English fans could attend games, but not actually become fans of their new "local" team. If that happens, then the whole ordeal of sending the team across the Atlantic every year will have been a waste.
On the surface, though, this looks like a great move for the Jaguars. They should be happy the St. Louis Rams backed out of their games overseas.
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