When the Rams announced in January that they would play one home game per year for three straight years, it occurred to me that the powers-that-be in St. Louis may claim that the team’s lease doesn’t permit the export of 12.5 percent of the annual regular-season home schedule. I didn’t reduce the thought to writing and, of course, it soon emerged that the Convention and Visitors Commission claims the lease prevents exporting 12.5 percent of the annual regular-season home schedule.
Now that the Jaguars reportedly will play one home game per year in London for four straight seasons, it’s occurred to me again that the folks responsible for leasing the stadium to the Jaguars may not agree with the maneuver — especially since the initial item on the matter from the newspaper of record in Jacksonville says nothing about whether city officials are on board with the move.
I’ve taken a quick look at the initial lease agreement. The following language appears at page 13: “[Touchdown Jacksonville] acknowledges and agrees that it shall be the owner of the NFL franchise and that it shall be obligated to place, keep and maintain the NFL franchise at the Stadium in Jacksonville.”
Playing one of eight regular-season home games per year for four years in another stadium arguably doesn’t constitute “placing, keeping and maintaining” the franchise at the stadium in Jacksonville.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens. One thing that new owner Shahid Khan has made clear in his short time as owner is that he’s willing to play hardball. (Just ask Maurice Jones-Drew.) He could be getting ready to fire a little high heat at City Hall if they try to suggest that the lease requires him to play every home game in the home stadium.
UPDATE 11:05 p.m. ET: The lease will indeed have to be revised. But Mayor Alvin Brown is supportive of the effort to play a total of four home games in London.
Sure, there’s a chance that Khan and Jacksonville have worked out the details in advance.
Just like the Rams and the CVC did earlier this year, right?