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SBD/August 22, 2012/Franchises
Jaguars Formally Announce Team Will Play A Game In London For At Least Four Years
Published August 22, 2012
A PLAY FOR POPULARITY: The AP’s Mark Long noted the Jaguars by all accounts are “the NFL's least popular team,” as they rank “at or near the bottom of the league in website hits as well as Twitter and Facebook interactions.” Reaction to the London deal “was mixed among the fan base.” But Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis said, "It's just good for the Jaguar brand. It's exciting to go over there and put ourselves on the map worldwide” (AP, 8/21). The TIMES-UNION’s Stellino notes the Jaguars players “were supportive of the idea of playing a game in London.” Jaguars K Josh Scobee said, “This would give us some popularity overseas and get us some new fans.” Still, Scobee said that he “understands season-ticket holders might be upset about losing one home game a year” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 8/22).
YES WE KHAN: In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette writes if there is “one thing we've learned about Khan in his eight months of running the Jaguars, he's not afraid to shake things up or pursue a new adventure.” Frenette: “Providing, of course, there's money to be gained, albeit at the risk of surrendering a competitive advantage.” Khan has “spared no expense in trying to improve the Jaguars in all facets of their operation.” Some will “rightfully question whether sacrificing a home game for international exposure puts the team at a competitive disadvantage.” But for the city, there is “no question what the Jaguars are doing will expand its business profile.” Still, it will be “interesting to see what taking a team from the banks of the St. Johns River to the River Thames brings to the Jaguars.” It “didn't seem to do much for the Dolphins or Tampa Bay Buccaneers, both of whom are struggling at the box office and on the field.” But Khan “doesn't worry about that,” as he “sees international dollar signs above anything else” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 8/22). Meanwhile, Khan has a “60 Minutes” TV crew following him for a segment “expected to air sometime this fall” (JACKSONVILLE.com, 8/22).
IS LONDON CALLING FOR MORE? Goodell said he was unsure about the “time frame” for placing an NFL franchise in London, but said, "I do know that every time we've taken another step in exposing our game to a global audience, they've wanted more." Goodell: "We went from preseason games, because they wanted to see competitive games with the best players, to regular-season games. Now they want more regular-season games. We'll likely take the next step of going from one game a year to two games a year and maybe even beyond that.” He said the league has not “made a final decision" on whether to continue to only play international games in London and not in other global cities, “but part of our theory here is that London could someday be a host for an NFL franchise." Goodell: "Playing in a broader area would expose more people to the game of football but at the end of the day we want to really test the London market and continue to see whether we can grow the game there” (“NFL Total Access,” NFL Network, 8/21). Meanwhile, NBCSPORTS.com’s Michael David Smith noted Jacksonville “won’t be the only NFL city losing one of its home games” to the U.K. In the Jaguars’ announcement yesterday, the team confirmed that the league “is working to add a second game in the U.K. next year.” There is “no word yet on whether that game will also be at Wembley or at another venue in the U.K., and there’s no word on which team will sacrifice one of its home games to travel overseas” (NBCSPORTS.com, 8/21).