NFL Extends Wembley Stadium Deal Until at Least 2020: Latest Details, Comments

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2015

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan walks off the across the EverBank Field prior to an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)
STEPHEN MORTON/Associated Press

Days before the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills clash at Wembley Stadium in London, the NFL announced an extension to continue playing games in England for the next five years.

According to Sky Sports, the league specifically committed to holding regular-season games at Wembley Stadium through 2020.

Per Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, the NFL's eventual plan is to host two games at Wembley and two games at Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane per season when construction on the latter is completed in 2018.

While the NFL is still quite some time away from establishing a London-based franchise—if it ever happens at all—Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports laid out the league's anticipated plan in the interim:

Charles Robinson @CharlesRobinson

#NFL is establishing a #London franchise in the aggregate. Soon enough, there will be 8 games a year in UK. That's a "home" regular season.

At least two games per season will be held at Wembley through 2020, with one of them featuring the Jacksonville Jaguars each year, per Sky Sports.

In addition to that, Jags owner Shad Khan announced an option to extend their agreement to host games in London through 2025, per O'Halloran.

Khan, who also owns English soccer club Fulham, recently discussed the virtues of his franchise's previous deal in London with NFL.com's Conor Orr:

People will stop me on the street and they know -- Jaguars. It's a certain street recognition we didn't have years ago. ... It's fun. We're getting advice from fans as to what we should be doing, which is wonderful. They care. I think it's just one more metric on the dashboard that says we're moving the needle.

While Khan and the Jaguars are very much committed to playing one game in London per season, they aren't yet willing to agree to play games in London in consecutive weeks, which is something the NFL is interested in, per O'Halloran.

The NFL has gone to great lengths to expand its popularity overseas, and Thursday's announcement suggests its efforts have only just begun.

Jacksonville continues to lead the way in that regard, and with plans in place to play even more games in London moving forward, it seems England will soon be a significant part of the NFL's fabric rather than an occasional foray overseas.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.


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