JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars announcement Tuesday that they would play consecutive home games in London in the 2020 season has been met with substantial resistance from fans.
A group called the Duval Coalition has formed to give fans a bigger voice.
As of this Thursday afternoon, over 17,000 fans and over 600 businesses had joined the Coalition, according to the group’s website. Fan groups like the Bold City Brigade, Teal Street Hooligans, Generation Jag, and even local brewery Intuition Ale Works have pledged their support to have their voices heard.
“I’ve reached out to the leader of that group,” Lamping said. “We certainly agree on the long-term objective. There could be disagreements on how to go about that. Our focus is the long-term.”
Members of the Duval Coalition do not want to see multiple games taken away from Jacksonville. Jaguars’ president Mark Lamping has committed to sitting down with the Duval Coalition to hear their complaints.
“I love the passion. We knew there would be fan reaction. We understood the reason for that,” Lamping said. “Our number one objective is to make sure we have a stable NFL franchise here in Jacksonville for years to come.”
Just don’t expect any conversation to change the Jaguars’ approach.
“What it does is it underlines the passion of our fans. As I said, we’re anxious to connect with that group. We talk with fans all the time. The results will be judged well into the future. The actions we take really have a long-term view.”
The two games in London is, for now, a one-year plan only, Khan said, as the Jaguars wrap up the last of their multi-year contract for games there. Lamping said that the opponents have yet to be determined, but games against the Steelers and Bears have both been protected, and those will remain in Jacksonville.
The London games will come on back-to-back weeks, marking the first time an NFL team has done that. Further points of emphasis on Tuesday: the impact of Lot J in the team’s future and the Jaguars beginning the exploratory phases for what’s next for TIAA Bank Field.
Some fans have expressed concern that the playing of two games in London is the first step toward the team relocating to the UK. Lamping points to the investments Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan has made in the area, including Daily’s Place amphitheater and the proposed Lot J development as evidence that Khan wants to keep the team in Jacksonville.
“Personally, we don’t think London is going to have an NFL team anytime soon,” Lamping said. “We know that team is not going to be the Jaguars.”