It is no secret that the Jacksonville Jaguars have struggled with home attendance numbers, particularity since 2007, the year of the franchise’s last playoff appearance.
While slowly creeping up toward the middle of NFL attendance percentages, the Jaguars have still never fully recovered from the 2009 season that saw them finish third-to-last in total attendance.
The combination of bad on-field performance and a relative lack of history has made the Jaguars a hot topic in relocation talks.
While new owner Shad Kahn seems set on keeping the team in north Florida, time may be running out. The Jaguars are in position to play two “home” games every year in London with rumors already swirling that this may be the beginning of a total relocation.
Bad news, Jaguars fans: Goodell told me there’s a good chance the Jags will play TWO “home” games in London very soon. — Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) June 4, 2013
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has aggressively pursued an agenda of international expansion, increasing the number of games in London during his tenure and even publicly discussing a London Super Bowl. During a June 4 press conference, Goodell indicated that he hopes to have a full-fledged NFL franchise in London sometime in the future.
In a current effort to advertise the game across the pond, Goodell is expanding the London “International Series” schedule from two to three games. Reports have the Jags taking two of those slots each year.
This was idea reported as early as a 2009 article in The Florida Times-Union:
When asked what the league will do, Goodell said, “Come down and try to bring attention to this. To try and help him work with business leaders and other leaders. To help them recognize the challenges we are going through in that marketplace. I’ve offered my personal assistance and the assistance of our staff. And it’s likely we will do that at some point.”
Don’t be surprised if the league decides to have the Jaguars play a game in London in the future. That would make the season ticket package cheaper by having nine home games instead of ten. And Goodell said the league will be playing “multiple” games in London so it makes sense to include the Jaguars.
Nothing is official yet, but with sagging attendance figures and a push for increased international exposure, Jacksonville playing two games in London per year could be a solution for both problems.