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Jaguars to Become 1st Team to Play Multiple Games in London in Same Season

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2020

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Chris Conley (18) is greeted by quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) after scoring a touchdown late in the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. Jacksonville won the game 20-16. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Tuesday that they will become the first NFL team in history to play two home games outside of the United States in the same season when they host back-to-back games at Wembley Stadium in London during the 2020 campaign.

"First, I want to make it clear that our first priority is winning, and anything we do or say away from that will never be more important than giving Jacksonville a team that wins and the community can be proud to call its own," Jags owner Shad Khan said. "We are committed first and foremost to winning, and that commitment drives me and everyone at the Jaguars every day."

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Some context on the #Jaguars playing two games in London: My understanding is it’s not a permanent scheduling strategy. It’s a bridge through a $700 million project Shad Khan is embarking on with the city to build up the area around TIAA Bank Field. Could be one year only.

Opponents and dates for the London games weren't announced, but the team confirmed its home contests against the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers will be played at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.

Aside from the Bears and Steelers, the Jaguars' other home opponents in 2020 are the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans.

The Jags stated season-ticket holders will see a 15 percent reduction in costs from the 2019 season, which saw the team play one game in London—a 26-3 loss to the Houston Texans. The savings stem from a 50 percent discount on preseason games and a five percent average reduction in ticket prices.

Jacksonville team president Mark Lamping called the organization's London strategy a "game-changer" that's helped in its quest to "create new sources of revenue to help us improve our long-term outlook and commitment to operating a thriving franchise in Jacksonville will continue and never end":

"No single approach, including London, will answer the many challenges that are common with any market the size of Jacksonville. However, playing two games in London at Wembley Stadium, where we have outstanding relationships, at least next season and perhaps in future years during construction, will help us bridge the gap between now and when we expect the Lot J development to open. Jacksonville's potential is unlimited, and I am confident we can realize it, with the Jaguars serving as the catalyst."

The Jags lead the league with seven appearances as part of the NFL International Series, which started in 2007 as an effort to increase American football's global reach. They are 3-4 in those games.

Although Jacksonville has played one game in London each of the past seven years, spurring speculation about a full-time team overseas, commissioner Roger Goodell said last year that wasn't close to becoming reality, mainly because of how the added travel could impact the schedule.

"The issue for us still is, 'Can we do this competitively for the team that is based there, but also for the 31 other clubs?' That involves scheduling, it involves a lot of other matters that you don't want to compromise," he told reporters. "And until we can get comfortable on that, I don't think we'll be NFL-ready in London."

The full NFL schedule is set to be released in April, but the international games are typically announced earlier.

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