The Jaguars will play two games in London this coming season. There are reasons why team owner Shad Khan likes playing football across the pond.
Now that it the newness of the announcement that the Jaguars will play two of their home games in London next season has worn off, fans are easing into the reality that there will be only six games played at TIAA Bank Field for the 2020 NFL season.
We know there are benefits to moving games across the pond, but in the back of my mind, I keep asking the same question: “Why does Khan like playing these London games so much?”
When the news broke about the decision to make the team’s home schedule even smaller here in North Florida, it was very unfortunate for many Jaguars fans that live in Jacksonville because it is two more games where Jacksonville natives will not be able to attend. Meanwhile, there have been possible rumors that the Jaguars could possibly move their franchise to London. Khan, however, is adamant that this is not the case.
Then why is it that Shad Khan likes these games in London so much? According to Debbi Taylor of Forbes Shad Khan likes the games in London because it is financially beneficial for the organization.
Amid the backlash from many angry fans Khan had this to say:
“First, I want to make it clear that our first priority is winning, and anything we do or say away from that will never be more important than giving Jacksonville a team that wins and the community can be proud to call its own. We are committed first and foremost to winning, and that commitment drives me and everyone at the Jaguars every day,” Khan said.
“We’ve also been honest about the importance of what playing games in London means to the vitality of the Jaguars as a franchise, and what a vibrant downtown means not only for the Jaguars, but for everyone who calls Jacksonville their home or maybe is thinking about coming here to live, raise a family, start a business or just spend more time here. I believe in what’s possible for Jacksonville and am going to do whatever it takes to help the Jaguars and the City of Jacksonville to reach its full potential.”
It is obvious that the stability of this franchise, only one of 32 NFL cities, is important, it does not make it any easier on fans seeing yet another game handed to another city, no matter how much the UK has embraced the Jaguars over the years.
Two London games mean two more opportunities Jacksonville fans to miss out on watching their beloved team. Hopefully, the team can become more of a contender and the extra revenue during the playoffs will generate more income for the team and they will no longer have to play in London. There are other considerations as well, which include the enhancement of the area around the stadium, which would help generate local income.
As Khan continued…
“What we plan for the 2020 season and maybe a bit longer is all about believing in what Jacksonville can ultimately become, all while continuing to further grow and develop partnerships and a fan following in London and throughout the UK that have turned out to be pretty remarkable,” Khan added. “This isn’t about next season or the next few seasons in Jacksonville, but really about the next 10 years, 25 years and beyond.”
Personally, I feel like the fans who continually support this team and come to games through losing seasons will continue to feel hurt as long as this team is still losing. The Jaguars faithful should be rewarded for their commitment to this franchise, but instead, they are being punished.
Rumors of the Jaguars moving to London have been swirling for a long time now, but nothing has materialized from them. Some even say that Khan wants to move the Jaguars, but London does not want the Jaguars. Two back-to-back home games in London really don’t help put an end to those rumors.
“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,” Khan said. “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.”
If this is someone the Jaguars are going to adopt going forward, hopefully, it is a short term condition. The franchise needs to focus on winning football games first. Distractions such as the games in London, or an angry fanbase, does not help contribute to winning football.