For the first time in NFL history, a team will play two home games outside the United States as Jacksonville will play back-to-back games over consecutive Sundays in London at Wembley Stadium, the team announced on Tuesday.
"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," Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in the statement. "We are committed first and foremost to winning, and that commitment drives me and everyone at the Jaguars every day.
"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. 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."
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports it's not a permanent scheduling strategy, but is a bridge through the Lot J project, which is roughly $700 million, that will build up the area surrounding TIAA Bank Field. The two-game "home" stand in London could be just a one-year move.
As for season ticket holders, they will receive a 50 percent discount on preseason games and favorable pricing on a half-dozen regular-season games that will equate to an average ticket price reduction of five percent, the team said.
Jacksonville will continue its annual tradition of playing home games in London, as it's done once a season every year since 2013.
Announcement of the extended stay comes in conjunction with the team's ambitious plans for the development of Lot J next to TIAA Bank Field. According to the team statement, when completed, the first phase of the Lot J development will see a redesigned downtown Jacksonville experience that will include an entertainment district, residential building offering more than 400 units, a 200-room hotel and additional parking.
Per the team's release: "Playing home games in London will continue to be very important to the Jaguars during the transition period expected during the Lot J construction."
"This isn't about next season or the next few seasons in Jacksonville," Khan said, "but really about the next 10 years, 25 years and beyond."