The NFL today announced that it has extended its agreement to play regular-season games at London's Wembley Stadium for an additional five years, meaning that at least two games per year will be played at Wembley through 2020.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, who had already committed to playing one game in London per season through 2016, will continue to play annually at Wembley every year throughout the agreement.
The NFL -- which also has the option to extend the agreement for an additional five years beyond 2020 -- has staged International Series regular-season games at Wembley since 2007 and is playing three games there in 2015 for the second consecutive season. The Jaguars' home game against the Buffalo Bills on October 25 will be the 13th game played in London and will see the one-millionth NFL fan through the turnstiles.
"This new agreement extends a very successful, long-term relationship," said Mark Waller, NFL Executive Vice President of International. "It is very exciting to be making this announcement in the same week that we will reach one million fans for the International Series in London."
Earlier this year, the NFL and the English Premier League's Tottenham Hotspur franchise announced an agreement to play a minimum of two games per year during a 10-year partnership at Tottenham's new state-of-the-art stadium, due to open in the summer of 2018.
"These agreements reiterate the NFL's commitment to the UK, with two stadium deals running concurrently," Waller said. "To be playing in Wembley, the national stadium, and at Tottenham, in what will be London's newest stadium, is fantastic. We are very appreciative of the Jaguars extending their commitment to the UK market, which emphasizes the club's and league's strong ambition to continue to grow the fan base for NFL football beyond the borders of the United States."
The Jaguars are in the third year of a four-year commitment to play one home game in London per year and have extended that agreement through 2020.
"Our four-year London initiative has been every bit as rewarding as we anticipated, certainly due in large part to the league's commitment to the UK and the world class experience that Wembley Stadium has provided the Jaguars, our fans and our partners," said Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan. "Our interest in extending our agreement to play a home game each season in London is nothing new. So, we're very happy to make it official today. This is great news for the Jaguars and the stability of the team in Jacksonville, which has come to embrace London as our home away from home."
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Wembley Stadium hosted the first International Series game of 2015 on October 4 between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets before a sellout crowd of 83,986. Following the Buffalo-Jacksonville game on October 25, the season's final London game will be between the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs on November 1.
"The NFL International Series has enjoyed a unique relationship with Wembley Stadium and we're delighted to be extending that deal," said FA Group Operations Director Julie Harrington. "We are proud that the NFL identified Wembley Stadium 10 years ago to serve as the focal point of its vision for international expansion. Since then, we have forged a very special partnership with Mr. Khan and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Today's news and this deal shows their trust and long-term belief in our venue."
Wembley's Head of Music and New Events Jim Frayling added, "We're delighted to extend the deal with the NFL and Jacksonville Jaguars. The NFL has been a key part of the stadium's calendar since 2007, growing in scale and stature every year since. At the heart of our business model is how we maximize Wembley as a multi-purpose venue to ultimately drive funds back into grassroots soccer across England and we believe this deal achieves that and more."
NFL clubs recently approved a resolution to continue playing international regular-season games through the 2025 season and expanded the league's ability to play those games in countries and territories beyond the UK.
Since introducing International Series games in 2007, the NFL has achieved accelerated growth in the UK. Sunday viewership of NFL games has more than doubled and the Super Bowl audience has increased more than 75 percent. The league also has developed new and stronger business partnerships and, according to internal research, has a UK fan base of more than 13 million.
Participation in amateur football in the UK has risen by approximately 15 percent per year since 2007, with the latest figures showing that 40,000 people age 16 or older play regularly.
Wake up and watch with the world. The NFL is live on Yahoo. For the first time ever the NFL is streaming a live game on Yahoo. Bills vs. Jaguars live from London, Sunday, October 25th, at 9:30 a.m. ET.