Jaguars to play consecutive home games in London in 2020

The Jacksonville Jaguars mascot carries the flags of the United States and Great Britian ahead of an NFL football game between the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars, at Wembley Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in London. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)
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By: Jeff Kerr | CBS Sports
February 4, 2020

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced they will play consecutive games in London for the 2020 season, the first team in NFL history to play two home games outside the United States in a regular season. The Jaguars will play both games at London's Wembley Stadium, another sign the team could be heading toward a relocation overseas.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan already has significant ties to the London area as the owner of Fulham F.C. of the English Football League Championship, and had been reportedly looking to purchase Wembley Stadium (Khan withdrew his bid in 2018, the deal falling through after the Football Association was criticized for looking to sell).

The Jaguars have been the franchise most linked to London over the past several years, having played a game every season in London since Khan bought the team in 2012. Jacksonville has played seven games in London, the most of any franchise.

Khan denies this is the latest sign the Jaguars will move to London, however.

"Eight years ago, when I was introduced in Jacksonville, the rumors were the team had been moving for years. I've always said this and I think our actions really have proven ... that's the most important thing: judge actions, not words," Khan said on the team's YouTube channel. "We want to invest in the area. We want to keep the Jaguars in the area, but we want them to be vital, competitive, and a force in the area to help the growth, economy and vitality and energy."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also dismissed the potential of a franchise in London in the coming years during his state of the league address last week.

"A timeline has not been set in London," Goodell said. "We have grown incredibly quickly. We look at our job is to make sure London can continue to grow. Could we have a franchise ready to market? The flexibility of scheduling two stadiums has been a huge flex for us. Can we do it in a competitive way? That's No. 1 priority for us."

Jacksonville's opponents for both games have yet to be determined, but the team confirmed the opponents will not be the Pittsburgh Steelers nor the Chicago Bears. Both those games will be played in Jacksonville.

Khan has said he does not wish to abandon Jacksonville, as the team has proposed a $500 million project outside the stadium that would feature an entertainment district, a 200-room hotel, residential buildings offering 405 units and additional parking.

The Jaguars appear willing to stay in Jacksonville, while being the franchise that grows their brand overseas.

"This isn't about next season or the next few seasons in Jacksonville, but really about the next 10 years, 25 years and beyond," Khan said. "There is no better time than now to capitalize on the opportunity to play two home games in London, where we will continue to develop our loyal and growing fan base there and throughout the UK, during a period in which I will be focused heavily on creating a new downtown experience that we want, need and must have here. We have an exceptional opportunity right in front of us for Jacksonville to meet its potential and be the city I imagined we'd become when I arrived here in 2011.

"I am optimistic and believe it will happen."



 
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