Hard at Work Recruiting British Fans

The National Football League is currently in the offseason, but that’s not stopping the Jacksonville Jaguars from trying to recruit United Kingdom fans. The latest technique is quite clever, too!

Letter-Sign

Jaxson de Ville

Mascot Jaxson de Ville wrote a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron. He requested all Jags fans in England be given a day off to recognize America’s Independence Day.

The special relationship that the US and UK share should absolutely be extended to the Jaguars’ UK fans.”

He suggested it go by a different name, though. As the Daily Mail pointed out, it would have been called an “EverBank Holiday.”

A variation on Britain’s traditional Bank Holidays and including the name of Jacksonville’s home stadium, EverBank Field.”

photo3

Letter sent to PM David Cameron

Who wouldn’t want an extra day off? I’d become a Jaguars fan if that meant I could get a three-day weekend! It shows the team cares about its supporters, and folks think highly of organizations that help others. As Jaxson said:

The NFL games in London bring a huge amount of revenue into the British economy so surely one day off for our incredible fans in the UK can’t hurt, right?”

Cameron didn’t give anyone a day off, but the letter certainly generated a buzz about the Jaguars in the middle of the summer.

@woz1967 tweeted:

Hell Yeah I’m on board. #GoJags #BeJaguars #StandUnited #CypSquadUK #Wembley #USMNT”

@Ten_TitansUK tweeted:

I’d be a jags fan for a day, for a bit of that action!!”

But Jessica Marie disagreed on the team’s Facebook:

While funny I kind of feel like this “letter” is a little disrespectful and condescending  considering history between countries and all especially.”

Kevin Tapee also didn’t like it:

Personally I think this lacks taste. To refer to the Prime Minister of England as Dave and not at the very least Mr. Cameron? Poor taste.”

The main point of the letter was to reminded spectators the team will play the Dallas Cowboys on November 9 at the sold-out Wembley Stadium. They’ll continue to play there in 2015 and 2016. A subtle reminder the organization is really testing the water to possibly become the “Jacksonville Jaguars of London.”

We love visiting our second home in London and our fans across the UK are awesome.”

The Jaguars seem to be the only team really putting forth an effort to recruit fans in London. By the way, I just realized the organization has a specific page on their website dedicated to “Jaguars UK.” They also have a specific Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Is this another sign?

Advertisements

Good Luck Getting Americans to London

8000560221_b970397204_z

Quarterback Peyton Manning

The Denver Broncos have the best road fans, according to a scientific analysis. The study found the team was the top ticket-selling road team in the National Football League last season. The Dallas CowboysSan Francisco 49ersNew England Patriots, and Green Bay Packers followed.

These fans consistently travel across the United States to see their teams compete, but will they follow them overseas if the NFL decides to put a franchise in the United Kingdom? Probably not.

It’s going to take a while for people to plan the trip, it’ll be expensive, and it’s more than just a weekend getaway.

While perusing the web, I came across an interesting article that Ben Koo wrote about his friend’s experience seeing the 49ers play the Jacksonville Jaguars last October.

The group of eight started planning the trip in April. He stayed in London for nine days. The total cost of the trip for ONE person? He says it was $3,000-$5,000:

  1. Plane – $1,250 roundtrip for economy seats from San Francisco to Heathrow
  2. Hotel – $225 for two twin beds
  3. Game Tickets – $225-$250 for upper deck at Wembley Stadium
  4. Transportation on the London Underground to Wembley – 34 ₤ for seven days
  5. Beers – 4-5 ₤ a piece, or about $5-$7
  6. Food – 8-12 ₤ for burgers, fish, and chips
  7. Various amounts for tourists sites

Don’t forget the majority of the NFL season is played when it is chilly outside. Travelers are going to have to pay extra to add jackets, gloves, and hats to their luggage.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know a lot of people who have $5,000 they can just toss around for ONE football game, let alone take nine days off of work at one time.

Team Marketing Report, a publisher of sports marketing and sponsorship information, entry0000026_img000puts out a yearly Fan Cost Index.

Here’s the average costs for a family of four to see a NFL game in the U.S.:

  1. Tickets – $81.54
  2. Beer – $7.05 for two small cups
  3. Soft Drink – $4.48 for four small cups
  4. Hot Dog – $5.07 for four regular servings
  5. Parking – $30.57 for one car
  6. Program – $3.71 for two
  7. Hat – $21.60 for two least-expensive, adult-sized adjustable ones

When you add those numbers up, the total only comes out to $459.65. It’s a 3.7% increase from the previous season, but it’s nearly $4,500 cheaper than going across the Atlantic. Don’t forget — this is for four people.

By the way, the Cowboys had the highest Fan Cost Index of $634.78. That’s still a significant savings! The Cleveland Browns had the lowest Fan Cost Index of $343.80. That’s an even better savings!

NFL on Regent Street, London

NFL on Regent Street in London

Even if Koo’s friend spent his entire savings to go across the pond, it sounds like the group had a good time:

There were a ton of people in every single NFL football jersey you could think of! We actually made it into a drinking game.”

Americans just aren’t going to go to the UK to catch a game. Sure, seeing a game in the U.S. isn’t quite the same as seeing one in London, but it’s too expensive for the average middle-class person. Times are tough. People have more important things to spend their money on, like college debt, credit card debt, childcare, car payments, etc. If the NFL establishes a team in England, it will be up to the locals to support them. They cannot rely on the Americans.

Helping the Media Help the NFL

The National Football League says it has a current fan base of more than 12 million in the United Kingdom, including 2.5 million avid fans. That’s a 30% increase in the last two years! Yet, for some reason it’s hard to find a story about the NFL in the UK media.

Royal visit to Hertfordshire

Queen Elizabeth

Most people understand it may not be front page material when there are countless soccer matches and Queen Elizabeth to talk about, but reporters can at least do a little more than what they’re doing now — which is barely nothing.

After the NFL hosted two games in London last year, SBNation found the media didn’t seem thrilled:

The Daily Mail gave the game less than 100 words in its “Sports” section on Monday. It shared the page with tennis and golf.”

That’s two pictures and two sentences. I counted. Here’s another one:

The Daily Telegraph spent less than 50 words on the game, relegating it to a page with coverage of cricket and squash.”

London_3

They also had only two sentences. Here’s another one:

The City A.M. really went all out. If you remove the names of the team, stadium and score, you get an entire two words on the game.”

That headline read “San Francisco 49ers beat Jacksonville Jaguars 42-10 at Wembley Stadium.” Hey, at least there was a small picture!

What gives? You could argue that these publications believe their audiences of older readers aren’t interested in the NFL. So, wouldn’t they want to post stories on their websites for the younger people? Nope. As SportsBusiness Daily found:

The website of major publications like the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, and the Guardian had no NFL stories on their home pages.”

Even since last year’s games, not much has been reported. The City A.M. hasn’t posted one NFL story since November. The Telegraph’s last article was posted at the beginning of May. The Daily Mail has at least been a little more consistent.

2975733999_63fe8d4a78_z

Wembley Stadium

Journalists have no excuses. As mentioned before, millions care about the league. Each NFL International Series game since 2007 has sold-out at Wembley Stadium. Dedicated fans even watch games on television or online.

Maybe the problem is simply the journalists are too busy. After all, London has more than a dozen professional soccer teams that play in the fall. They’re busy covering soccer and space is limited on their pages. Maybe they just don’t understand the game so they feel like they can’t adequately cover it.

The NFL should help these reporters out and give them reasons to write stories. They should invite them to a seminar where they are taught how American football works. American writers could be guest speakers. The league could pay for some British reporters to fly to the United States and see a game and all the hype. The NFL could send them news releases that are ready to be ripped and re-printed. One person in the league should be responsible for handling all UK media requests promptly. The NFL could grant them exclusive interviews with particular players, coaches, or Commissioner Roger Goodell. They can boost their visits during the offseason to get coverage that doesn’t have to compete with soccer.

If the NFL wants to continue to grow, it’s going to need the help of the media. It can get the help by helping provide the help. Follow me? What do you think? Leave a comment.