Jags to announce overseas games starting next year
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Jaguars owner Shad Khan will be in Jacksonville on Tuesday to announce international games for the Jaguars beginning in 2013, Channel 4's Sam Kouvaris has learned.
The Jaguars will begin to play one of their home games next year for the next four years through 2016. While London has been the site of the NFL's previous transatlantic games, the Jaguars are exploring the possibility of playing in Germany, Spain and in other countries as well.
It's possible that the Jaguars could play two games overseas each year starting in 2014, although details of the long-term plans have not been worked out. One of those games could be considered a "road game."
Khan's email to fans on playing overseas
The 2013-16 games will be considered Jaguars "home" games, which means the team will play nine instead of 10 home games at the stadium here in town beginning next year. This will reduce the price of the Jaguars season ticket, something that Khan called a "win-win" last month.
In turn, season ticket holders will be offered special packages to attend the Jaguars international games at season ticket holder prices.
Khan was at the London Olympics two weeks ago and said he got a lot of ideas for the "home field experience" while attending the Games. When asked about what the future might hold for the Jaguars' international plans he said, "Be patient for a couple of days."
The NFL began playing games at Wembley Stadium in London beginning in 2007, with this year's game scheduled for Oct. 28 between the St. Louis Rams and the New England Patriots.
Goodell and Khan will make the official announcement at a 2 p.m. news conference Tuesday at the University Club in the Riverplace Tower downtown.
"This is something Shad Khan brought up literally day one in his ownership of the Jaguars," Kouvaris said. "He wants to make the Jags a more exposed team. He doesn’t like the fact that the Jags seem to be a small market team that no one appreciates."
To play home games away from EverBank Field will require a modification of the Jaguars' stadium lease with the city of Jacksonville.
"The lease originally said the Jags had to play all of its home games in Jacksonville, but that has been worked out between the city and the Jaguars as to how the city will be compensated," Kouvaris said.
Mayor Alvin Brown's office issued a statement about the news, saying: "We are excited for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the NFL in their pursuit to expand the game globally. We support these efforts and look forward to working with the Jaguars to ensure success in this venture. This will also serve as a major building block to expose the city of Jacksonville as a destination on all global fronts. We intend to use the Jacksonville name, in conjunction with the Jaguars, to help expand our opportunities for business investment and create larger economic success for our great city."
A spokesperson for Brown said the Jaguars and the City had been in conversations about the opportunity for months, and that the City supports the effort.
The Associated Press is reporting that the St. Louis Rams were scheduled to play a home game in London in 2013 and 2014, but they pulled out last week, citing a need to focus on lease negotiations and ease fan discontent.
The AP says the Jaguars will pick up those two games, and also play in London the following two years.
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