Announced earlier today, the Jaguars are moving two regular season home games to Wembley Stadium in London for the upcoming 2020 season. The theme of today was local revenue — as it has been for the past several seasons under Jaguars owner Shad Khan.
In speaking with the local media via conference call on Tuesday, Jaguars President Mark Lamping emphasized the need of increased local revenue, insisting that teams such as the Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, and the Los Angeles Rams have already begun their path upwards from a revenue-generating perspective by moving and acquiring new stadiums.
“All three of those teams were teams that were clustered in the bottom quartile of the league in terms of local revenue, which is a key metric for us. After moving into these stadiums, those teams will no longer be at the bottom of the league and will also have an impact increasing the level of local revenue that the average NFL team generates and makes our path to exiting the bottom quartile of the league more challenging, but we believe achievable.”
Khan has invested over $100M into the city-owed stadium during his time as owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, however the much-needed local revenue, according to Lamping is still not currently acceptable. The Jaguars have on-going projects such as Lot J and the Jacksonville Shipyards, however, in the meantime the initiative to take two home games from Jacksonville was deemed necessary.
“Today’s news is about London and what it means for Jacksonville, but make no mistake – winning is the top priority,” Khan said via conference call this morning. “Everything we’re striving to do for the franchise and the city is about winning and about building a franchise that expects to win constantly. I think most of you know, I just came back from the Super Bowl and obviously witnessed firsthand the energy of the fans and obviously the joy of Kansas City fans afterwards and I want that more than anything for the Jaguars fans.”
The team expects the revenue from playing in London to double from last season, especially considering the certain “economies of scale” by way of playing overseas on back-to-back weeks.
Lamping and Khan have already expressed interest with the league in extending their London initiative beyond the 2020 season — at which point the current contract is set to expire. However, whether it is one game or two games beyond this year remains to be seen and is ultimately not in the Jaguars’ leadership control as of right now.
“We believe that London is of particular importance to us and growing importance to us as we go through the transition over the next several years where Lot J goes from just a vision to a reality,” said Lamping.
The Jaguars executives have begun work and are expected to present their draft for Lot J and the Shipyards which will add much-needed local revenue to the team if it were to proceed as expected. Lamping pointed to Patriots Place as a way for one of the winningness teams in NFL history to generate more revenue outside of ticket sales.
Send me your reactions to the #Jaguars playing two home games in London this upcoming season.— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) February 4, 2020
Are you angry? Apathetic? How do you feel?
As it stands right now the Jaguars are in the preliminary phases of getting their future goals for Lot J accomplished, with the Shipyards to potentially follow after.
“We have a draft, a pretty significantly negotiated draft of the development agreement, which is in front of the city. We have been working closely with them to finalize that,” Lamping said.
“We expect to reach consensus with the city at which point this proposal then goes to the DIA [Downtown Investment Authority] board for their review, comments and approval or not and then it goes to City Council. City Council will then review it, debate it, provide their comments and either advance it or not advance it. We are confident that this project will be one of many actions that can help downtown Jacksonville realize its full potential and hopefully we will be looking forward to cranes in downtown Jacksonville.”
If the initiatives were to go through, it could allow the Jaguars to re-evaluate their plans for the team’s foothold in London for the future. Whether it is less games in London or no games in London at all, however Lamping says there is no doubt that the team will be in a much stronger position following the completion of Lot J and the Shipyards.
“I think it will put us in a position where we can take a step back and reevaluate what role London could and should play for the city of Jacksonville and for the Jaguars,” Lamping added.
With new stadiums surfacing around the league, there is a potential for the Jaguars to be included in that discussion. Lamping stated the team has already begun the dialog with the city as it relates to a full assessment of the current stadium, emphasizing again that Lot J and the Shipyards which will follow remain in the forefront.
“The stadium as it exists today would, in all likelihood, not meet the needs of the city nor the football team 10, 15, 20 years from now. The key with these types of projects is to get ahead of them. We’re not in a dire situation right now, so we want to get ahead of the process.”
The process to acquire a new stadium cannot occur until a full assessment takes place, and that is when the discussion will take place.
“Once we have those thoughts collected, we’ll turn it over to some sports architects and see what their vision is for the stadium. I think this entire process of getting from where we are right now to at least an understanding of what the future may hold is probably 36-38 months.”
The Jaguars future in Jacksonville will ultimately come under question, however there are a lot of new ideas and considerations taking place before that would ever become a reality. For now, the team will play two home games in London, and may do so for the foreseeable future.