NFL boosted as Jaguars commit to London games
The Jacksonville Jaguars National Football League (NFL) franchise have agreed to play a regular season home game at London's Wembley Stadium in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The NFL has moved quickly to fill a gap created by St. Louis Rams' withdrawal from its commitment to play a game in London in each of the next three seasons. The Rams changed tack last week after deciding to concentrate on upgrading their home stadium.
Jaguars' owner Shad Khan, who bought the team last year for US$760 million, is seen as highly ambitious and keen to internationalise a franchise that has struggled in its own Florida market. He said of the Wembley fixtures: "This is a priceless opportunity to share the business, tourism and lifestyle story of Jacksonville with international audiences, and I know it will give the Jaguars a unique and powerful identity within the league and beyond.”
The NFL, which has permission from its 32 team owners to arrange at least one competitive game in London for the next five years, is continuing its efforts to stage a second UK game in 2013. The Jaguars' decision to commit to London, however, is a significant boost to the league's international plans, which began with its first UK game in 2007.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said: “We have had a tremendously positive reaction to our sport in the UK and we’re excited that the Jaguars are seizing this opportunity to raise the profile for the team as well as the Jacksonville community.
“The NFL is committed to working with Shad Khan and the Jaguars in every respect to help them grow their brand and fan base through the NFL International Series and the many opportunities these games will offer.”
The Jaguars' opponents in 2013 are yet to be determined. The Rams will fulfill this year's London fixture against the New England Patriots in October.blog comments powered by Disqus
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