The Jacksonville Jaguars are consistently ranked toward the bottom on lists comparing National Football League franchises. Fans are finding it difficult to support a losing team that hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2007. It’s not easy trying to build morale when there’s also a lot of buzz that owner Shahid Khan is considering relocating the organization to London. If the franchise wants to be successful in this cut-throat industry, the perfect time to transition the Jaguars into a powerful squad deeply rooted in the Jacksonville community is now. This is a guide to rebrand the Jaguars for the upcoming 2015 season. It is a blueprint to offer guidance and will need to be adjusted to feedback.
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.”
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.
Hell Yeah I’m on board. #GoJags #BeJaguars #StandUnited #CypSquadUK #Wembley #USMNT”
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.”
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?
Why not have the team split its schedule between Florida and London? The Green Bay Packers used to do it in Green Bay and Milwaukee, and it seems like the Buffalo Bills are headed that way with games in Buffalo and Toronto. The Jaguars already have two employees stationed in the United Kingdom, and they already send cheerleaders, athletes, and managers there in the offseason.
Jaguars fans may be a little upset, but wouldn’t they rather have a bi-contentintal team than lose the team entirely? There are a lot of positive aspects. As Khan has said, it would be beneficial to attract international visitors to “The Bold New City of the South:”
Jacksonville is an undiscovered gem, with key resources for tourism and the beaches. It is highly influenced by its maritime business and London is a logical point along the way. We need to take this and market Jacksonville overseas.”
Khan also wants European companies to spend millions of dollars in “J-ville” to entice “Jaxons” to fly across the pond. As ESPN found, the team’s domestic sponsorship revenue rose 14% in 2013, but jumped to 29% when London sponsorship money was included. Even tight end Marcedes Lewis seems to agree:
“It’s just good for the Jaguar brand. “It’s exciting to go over there and put ourselves on the map worldwide. When I got drafted in 2006, there were some of my family members who didn’t even know who the Jaguars were.”
The bi-continental team would make traveling easier than having the team fully based there. The players could spend a few weeks in London and more time in the U.S., and avoid flying back and forth so much. It would also make broadcasting the competitions easier.
The games played in the NFL International Series lower ticket prices by at least 10%. If the team had more games overseas, ticket prices would continue to become more affordable. There’s also supply and demand — fewer games in the U.S. would mean more seats sold at EverBank Field. The program would also allow the league to see how many people are truly interested in attending regular games in London, outside the special events from the International Series.
You can’t forget the team’s fan base would grow throughout the process — that’s more merchandise being sold.
Forget being bi-coastal. Bi-contenential is the way to go if the NFL wants to see if it can fully succeed in Europe without a full commitment.
Thirteen teams have played at Wembley Stadium since the NFL International Series started in 2007. The New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have each played there twice. The Jacksonville Jaguars played their first game in London last fall, and they will continue to play one game a year there through 2016.
If the NFL establishes a team in Europe, more than likely it is going to be the Jaguars.
In the course of the next four years we’ll see if the fans are ready for more than one game. Time will tell.”
“We want the Jaguars to develop fans over here and the Jaguars to be seen as London’s team but my feelings and aspirations are to make it work in Jacksonville.”
Goodwell also told Sports Journalists Association lunch last October:
But we want to create success here. It depends on fan support continuing to grow. [If] at some point in time it will become obvious a team here could be successful then we have to figure out other issues. Like which team, or teams.”
Goodell and Khan are making it so obvious, even The Onion wrote a spoof news story about the NFL announcing the team would play 16 games in London — eight as the home team and eight as the away team. The website even said the players would wear limited edition uniforms with special colors and logo.
All joking aside, here are a few reasons Khan and the NFL may use to justify moving the organization to the United Kingdom for a fresh start:
- The team is one of the least popular in the league, but its popularity is growing outside the United States.
- Jacksonville has 837,000 residents; London has 8.3 million.
- The team hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2007.
- The team’s regular season record is 144-160.
- The organization have a hard time filling the 70,000 seat EverBank Field. Wembley Stadium has 90,000 seats, and the Jaguars game there last year was attended by 83,559.
- The UK-based fan club, Union Jax, has 23,000 members.
- Khan is familiar with the London-market since he owns the Fulham F.C. soccer team.
Even former quarterback Mark Brunell told First Coast News he believes it’ll happen:
We have an owner in Shad Khan that bought the soccer team over there and all indications are that we’re headed that way. It’s not good for Jacksonville. You don’t hear a lot of that talk in Jacksonville right now, but everywhere else . . . someone mentioned the other day that it’s the Jacksonville Jaguars of London.”
A few other names have been thrown around as possibly heading across the pond, like the San Diego Chargers, but the Jaguars seem to be the “it team.” Khan continues to say he is dedicated to making the team succeed in Jacksonville.
Should the Jaguars further test the London-market by spending half their season in the U.S. and the other half in the UK? Stayed tuned — that’s next!