Welcome again to BS, the column where we take a critical look at popular topics involving the Jacksonville Jaguars. Today's column revolves around the ever popular offseason topic of the Jaguars leaving Jacksonville. Various pundits have put the team in Los Angeles, San Antonio, Montreal, Toronto, and the new en vogue pick, London.
The Statement: Because the Jaguars play in the smallest market in the NFL and have rampant blackout problems, they plan on moving to another city for green pastures. While it seems the Chargers are the new leading candidates for the LA opening, the Jaguars would instead move to jolly ole England to establish the NFL as a true international brand. This would be slowly followed by the Bills moving to Toronto, the 49ers to Beijing, the Cardinals to Mexico City, and the establishment of the Mars Manhunters.
The "Evidence:" The Jaguars blacked out 12 of 16 games in 2003 and 2004, resulting in the infamous tarps on the stadium. The city of Jacksonville hasn't become Atlanta II, as the NFL hoped it would when they surprisingly awarded the team in 1993.
The NFL regular season games played in London so far have been a roaring success, and with the NFL falling badly behind the NBA in the international race, it needs to make a move.
The Facts: Since the tarps have gone up, only one home game has been blacked-out. The big problem for the Jaguars is the lack of ticket sales in the premium areas, like club seats and luxury boxes. Sadly, the economy is only going to worsen this, but it's going to do that for every team in the league.
Now, we've gone over this a million times, so then, why would London be a terrible idea?
The travel expenses for one. Currently, the longest trip for any game a team has to make is when Seattle and Miami play each other. The visiting team makes a 6,000 mile round trip. The CLOSEST team to London, the New England Patriots would have to make a similar trip to play in London. The Chargers would have a nearly 11,000 mile round trip a head of them.
That alone is a huge expense for any team to incur. The owners who were in the same division would be furious at the huge expense being lopped onto their budget.
Let alone, would London really support a team? Outside of Toronto and hockey, when have American sports leagues and international teams mixed? The Grizzlies left Vancouver, the Expos are now the Nationals, hell even some NHL teams had to leave Canada.
These regular season games in London are akin to when the US national soccer team is doing well. It's a singular event that everyone can get behind and see something we usually don't pay attention to. How's MLS doing?
To get Londoners to dish out for season tickets is a huge financial risk.
The Verdict: Will the Jaguars ever leave Jacksonville? That is a question that can't be answered with any certainty. Until LA has a team, it's always going to be on the table.
As for the Jaguars ending up in London, well that's just BS.