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2020 NFL schedule: Jaguars will play two home games in London

Shad Khan announced today the Jaguars will be playing back-to-back home games in London this season.

NFL: International Series-Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars will be playing two home games in London for the 2020 NFL season, the team announced today. The games will be played back-to-back.

Much has already been made regarding the team’s intentions, and on the surface the move seems drastic, while well calculated by the team’s owner Shad Khan and it’s president Mark Lamping. An increase in local revenue was the theme of today — as it has been for the past few seasons under Khan and Lamping.

The two games the team will play on back-to-back weekends will be announced at a later day in April of this year. The team will also be granted the right to retain two marquee games in Jacksonville — against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears. For season ticket holders, the prices of preseason games will be reduced by 50%, with variable pricing occurring for the regular season. Their prime opponents will be priced slightly higher than other season tickets, Lamping stated via conference call this morning.

Overall, Jaguars season ticket holders will see a net-impact of paying around 15% less for season tickets than they have a year prior.

The Jaguars are placing two home games in London in order to benefit their overall local revenue. While the team saw great heights in ticket sales following their 2017 AFC title game run, the Jaguars’ local revenue remained near the bottom of the league — the reason the Jaguars played in London beginning in 2013.

The Jaguars revenue produced by their London model represents double the amount gained from playing in Jacksonville, the overall move stems from economic reasons.

“Our work to create new sources of revenue to help us improve our long-term outlook and commitment to operating a thriving franchise in Jacksonville will continue and never end,” said Mark Lamping, president of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“For the past seven seasons, our London strategy has been a game-changer. No single approach, including London, will answer the many challenges that are common with any market the size of Jacksonville. However, playing two games in London at Wembley Stadium, where we have outstanding relationships, at least next season and perhaps in future years during construction, will help us bridge the gap between now and when we expect the Lot J development to open. Jacksonville’s potential is unlimited, and I am confident we can realize it, with the Jaguars serving as the catalyst.”

Jacksonville agreed to play one home game in London in a four-year agreement that ran from 2013-2016. They started their international series with a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers and followed it up with another loss to the Dallas Cowboys. They then won their next two games against the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts.

In 2017, the team then signed an agreement through the year 2020 to play at least one home game in London.

The Jaguars are 3-4 in London over the course of the NFL International Series. The Jaguars will be the first team to ever play two games in London during a single season, something that is clearly a priority for the viability of the team in Jacksonville, however Khan made it clear that the ultimate goal — for the team and for Jacksonville — is to reinvigorate downtown Jacksonville.

“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,” added Shad Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars. “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,” said Khan.

The Jaguars’ London excursion could possibly extend beyond 2020 as well.

“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.

“This isn’t about next season or the next few seasons in Jacksonville, but really about the next 10 years, 25 years and beyond. There is no better time than now to capitalize on the opportunity to play two home games in London, where we will continue to develop our loyal and growing fan base there and throughout the UK, during a period in which I will be focused heavily on creating a new downtown experience that we want, need and must have here. We have an exceptional opportunity right in front of us for Jacksonville to meet its potential and be the city I imagined we’d become when I arrived here in 2011. I am optimistic and believe it will happen.”