Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the leading NFL franchise poised to relocate to London. The NFL has expressed a desire to place a full time franchise in London in order to expand their market for several years now. League owners such as Robert Kraft have openly lobbied for such a move. Commissioner Roger Goodell has gone as far as stating he would consider placing a Super Bowl in London.
Whether NFL fans like the move or not, it’s becoming more and more apparent that this talk is not going to subside anytime soon. CBS’s Jason LaCanfora reported that it’s no longer a matter of “if” a team lands in London, but when. But which team makes the move? According to LaCanfora, his sources suggest the team most likely to relocate across the pond is the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Yes people of Jacksonville, we have heard the words from owner Shahid Khan’s mouth that he has no desire to move the team. In reality, Khan did not amass his vast wealth by making foolish decisions and moving the team to London makes perfect financial sense.
Jaguars fans will make the cast that the two other franchises in the State of Florida are struggling much worse with attendance numbers. However, the two venues where the Buccaneers and Dolphins play are favorite locations to host Super Bowls. Tampa hosts a very good Super Bowl logistically speaking and Miami will eventually get their stadium deal done. Jacksonville hosted one Super Bowl after they joined the league, but the big game will never return to Jacksonville again, the city does not have the infrastructure. When the city hosted the big game, crusie ships had to be brought in so the venue would have enough “hotel rooms”.
Honestly, the Jaguars don’t compete against their in state NFL franchises for audience, but rather with the University of Florida. In London, the Jaguars would have an entire country to themselves.
The Jaguars have long been a team rumored to be on the move. When discussions about a team relocating to Los Angeles emerged, Jacksonville was at the top of the list.
With no disrespect to the people of Jacksonville, I seriously doubt the league would place a team there again if it had the move to do over again. The city is very near the Georgia state line and is several hours from the more populous regions of the state. In retrospect, San Antonio might have been a better location for the franchise.
Mr. Khan could easily increase the value of his franchise by at least $150 million dollars with such a move. Since the league is based on revenue sharing between the clubs, a relocation vote would meet no resistance and the team’s merchandise sales would immediately skyrocket.
The NFL expanded it’s NFL International series this season to include two games played overseas. The biggest risk for the league would be whether or not the citizens of London would support the NFL brand for an entire slate of 10 games or whether one or two games currently played across the Atlantic is more of a novelty.
There should be no doubt that it’s not coincidence that the Jaguars are playing a game in London for the next four seasons. Mr. Khan told reporters that the move was made to sell Jacksonville to the world after the team announced the overseas slate of games. More likely, Khan is trying to sell the Jaguars to London.