Jaguars seen as most likely team to move to London

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With the Jaguars playing one home game per year for four straight years in London and Commissioner Roger Goodell recently suggesting that number could double, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to come to the conclusion that if/when a team moves to London, the obvious choice will be the Jaguars.

The writing has been spray painted on the wall by a pack of soccer hooligans.  The Jags are trying to build a fan base in London.  If they do, and if the NFL wants to move a team there, why would it be a team other than the team that has built a fan base?

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has written a fairly lengthy dissertation on the topic of Jackonville to the land of the Hound of the Baskervilles (Google it), explaining that “numerous well-connected NFL people have tabbed as the most likely to land there.”

And that has prompted a delicious slice of passive-aggressive CBS-on-CBS crime, with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports saying this on Twitter:  “I know the NFL wants a team in London. But to just automatically assume it will be Jacksonville is wrong.”

Prisco supports his position by pointing to the assorted misconceptions about the franchise’s ability to sell tickets in Jacksonville.  Still, any team that builds a fan base in London by playing there on an annual basis becomes the obvious choice to move there.

There’s another possibility with the Jaguars, not mentioned in La Canfora’s piece:  A split schedule.

Rumors continue to persist that the Jags could play some games in Jacksonville, and some in London.  Under the basic realities of supply and demand, fewer games in Jacksonville would mean more tickets sold per game.  (Even though the games haven’t been blacked out in recent years, plenty of premium seats remain routinely available.)  And owner Shahid Khan would benefit financially from a two-headed fan base, both in Jacksonville and in England.

A team based in America that plays some of its regular-season home schedule in London helps the NFL with an overlooked but important logistical problem.  What happens when a team based in London is hosting playoff games, and the road teams have to travel over to England and back and then (if they win) play again in a week?

Having a team play some home games in the U.S. and some in London allows all postseason games to be played in the place that is much easier for the visiting teams to get to.

So regardless of tickets sales or sellouts or any other factor, if the Jags are going to play on London on a regular basis, of course they’re the most obvious choice to play there even more regularly.  Whether that all or only some of their annual schedule remains to be seen.

It also remains to be seen whether they can actually build a fan base in London.  If they don’t, then there’s no reason to expand their presence.  If they do, then there’s no reason not to.

66 responses to “Jaguars seen as most likely team to move to London

  1. So they’d be called the “Jag-u-warz”… Attracting free agents might be a problem, especially years they face every AFC or NFC West team

  2. The idea of having an NFL franchise in London is as bad as trying to force an NFL franchise to change its name.

  3. Here’s another logistic problem. What player would want to play there when the tax rate is 50% (soon to be higher)?

  4. I live in the UK. I am a Rams fan. If a team moved over here, I would still be a Rams fan.

  5. Blah blah blah, old national media speculation with no true credibility. Until Shad Khan himself says the Jags are ‘moving’ they aren’t going anywhere! I’ve had it up to here with the national media’s propaganda against Jacksonville; It’s unacceptable!!!

  6. Moving to London is the stupidest thing ever. Teams that have to endure a 9 hour flight (from the east coast at that!) 8 times out of the season. Just bring back NFL Europe, problem solved.

  7. This is not the NFL choosing the Jaguars as the guinea pigs to test the overseas market. This is Shad Khan implementing his international vision for the game. A big part of why he bought the team in the first place.

  8. Speaking as a Londoner, we don’t want to steal a team. Once a season is great, and we appreciate that bit it’s an American sport that should be played in America.

    Also, the Jags won’t ever get overwhelming support just by being here. English nfl fans already have teams they support.

  9. How did Jacksonville get a team to begin with???

    Having said that, just say NO to London or any other city outside the U.S. this is American football!!!

  10. any team that at moves to London will be rooted against…..this is a test….RG will not move a team to London before LA and probably not vefore the cities of StL, SD, Buf and Oak lost and regain a team.

  11. Moving a team overseas is probably the dumbest idea being thrown around yet. It’s like force feeding football down people’s throats.. If people around the world want to embrace the NFL they will, you won’t achieve that by forcing a team to relocate.

  12. I dig the rocket surgeon line Florio. I’m going to use that. I am in the rocket business, but I’m no surgeon.

  13. Dennis Allen’s Outgoing Persona says:
    Jun 5, 2013 6:30 PM
    Moving to London is the stupidest thing ever. Teams that have to endure a 9 hour flight (from the east coast at that!)
    Flying 9 hours from an east coast city; NY, Boston, Philly will bring you close to the Russian border, it’s 8 hrs from Boston to Germany. Having said that, moving a team to London makes zero sense, just a money grab by the NFL.

  14. THis is a dumb idea in a long history of dumb ideas from Goodell. No free agent will come there without “Al Davis Raider” overpaying (Raider fans can hate, but in Al’s later years it was true). American Football in England is popular because it is a novelty that comes around not that often. When the novelty wears off and it becomes readily available ticket sales will lag. Keep American Football American Football. Give samples to England, Mexico or where ever, fine, but keep it here.

  15. I can see the pre-season Practice now. 37-degrees Fahrenheit, cold drizzle nearly every morning, unceasing wind. But don’t mind it any blokes, there’ll be plenty of scalding hot tea and the locker room won’t have many mice.

  16. My sources tell me the Glazers are going to import the Manchester soccer team to Tampa and export the Bucs to England. This is the true skinny on all this Great Britain stuff that you can take to the bank.

  17. Jags send representatives to London every week or so. I think their cheerleaders probably have apartments there. Tony Boselli was there at the time of the draft doing inteviews with the British press. Khan is 100% behind a move.

  18. I’ve already got one foot out the door. Start moving the league overseas and continue adulterate the game I grew up watching, and I’ll be completely focused on MLB in about 5 years.

  19. Give it a rest already.

    First it’s lead pipe locked that the Jags are going to Los Angelas.
    Then it’s only a matter of time before Tim Tebow is the Jags starting QB.
    Now this.

    Just give it a rest.

  20. Will the salary cap for British based team be manipulated to account for the much higher tax rate?

    What happens when the UK state department doesn’t let certain players into their country because of previous felony convictions?

    They’re going to have to lineup the west coast teams where they play an EST team before or after the England swing. So now guys will be away from home for 9/10 days. Now perhaps the split schedule fixes this, but it seems like a lot. Also how will British fans feel if they support a team. And they playoff game isn’t in their stadium?

  21. Another idea that Goodell is trying to force down the throats of NFL fans. DO WE REALLY NEED AN NFL TEAM IN EUROPE ROG??? Travel makes this an awful idea. Just another reason to HATE Roger Goodell in his attempt to destroy the sport for the almighty dollar! Maybe we should hold a bake sale to help these poor owners that feel the need to find ways to make more money since they are suffering so much in this bad economy??

  22. The idea of having an NFL team in London is as ridiculous as the idea of having a 3rd NFL team in the intellectual and cultural dirth that is Florida.

  23. One of the perks of the team being in Florida is that there is no state income tax. While this may not be the best reason to go to a team as a free agent is has always been a consideration. Now, I understand the tax laws for non-residents in the UK is prohibitive. How would the NFL explain this to the players or would they get special consideration? As a Jaguars fan, we have been beaten up over the LA thing for about 10 years. Still hasn’t happened. I won’t hold my breath for this, either.

  24. Los Angeles. Toronto. Montreal. Portland. Vancouver. San Antonio. Sacramento. Las Vegas. Columbus. Austin. Virginia Beach. Providence. Milwaukee.

    All cities with a larger population base than Jacksonville, and no NFL team.

    London? Get real.

  25. So if they moved to London, would the “American” Football Conference have to change their name? How would a team in London benefit the American Economy? Stupid idea all around. Goodell is clueless.

  26. Why not seed the Jets to England? At least that might get them out of the NY media scrutiny.

  27. Goodell is gonna push for a U.K. franchise that no one is going to want to go to because of time zones but he won’t do anything about L.A?!


  28. MP says-There is at least one British car company that would be a great sponsor…I don’t think so….they tried to sue the expansion team for using the original jumping Jaguar logo. Might still be bad blood.

  29. “the Jags won’t ever get overwhelming support just by being here. English nfl fans already have teams they support.”

    Why is this so hard for Roger to comprehend?

  30. The cost of living in London is much higher than in the US. Worse exchange rate for Americans and taxes are much higher. What free agent would want to go there? Ole Roger would have to increase the salary cap for players there to compensate for the exchange rate.

    I love most things about London and have family there, but moving an NFL team there over an American or Canadian city is just dumb.

  31. The question of what happens if a London based team hosts a playoff game is indeed concerning. On the other hand, that problem goes away entirely if you pick the Jaguars as the team.

  32. If the NFL was seriously considering such a move they would have continued funding NFL Europe as a long term marketing strategy. They haven’t.

    Additionally, when they closed down NFL Europe all but one of the Amsterdam team were in Germany. So the greatest demand in Europe is in Germany not Great Britain.

    As for travel, Mexico City is closer to either of the US Coasts than the East Coast is from the West Coast. Serious international expansion would begin in Mexico or Canada.

    London is simply Bluff (b) in case no one takes Bluff (a) Los Angeles seriously about relocation.

    No one should worry unless a more serious option emerges.

  33. Also a fact not considered is Jax has a very strong lease until 2027. Only way team can break it would be to open their books to the city and prove 3 consecutive years of losses. No NFL team has ever opened their books to the public. Ever.

  34. First off, putting a team in London is a stupid idea, but if Goodell wants to do something (or if he believes something is true – moron) it will get done. The guy is an egomaniac.

    Assume a team, the Jaguars, move to London. I am not as concerned about that team, but what about the three other teams in their division, who would have to travel every year to London. (I assume the team would play all games in London, a two city solution would probably not work.)

    Of the current NFL teams, I believe the total flying distance for the most traveled team (for division games only) are as follows:

    St. Louis: 9380 miles for Division Games
    Dallas: 7680 miles for Division Games
    Miami: 7080 miles for Division Games

    The most logical thing to do with an NFL team in London, if it was the Jaguars, would be to reform the AFC East and put Jacksonville in that division and move Miami to the AFC South.

    The total divisional travel distance for the new USA based AFC East teams would be:

    Patriots: 7760 miles for Division Games
    Bills: 8440 miles for Division Games
    Jets: 7876 miles for Division Games

    The total miles for divisional games for the “new” AFC East teams in the USA would be less than the divisional game miles currently racked up by the Rams. The London Team, would have an “advantage” in all games played in London and teams traveling to London would have a disadvantage. It would all wash out in the end.

    I think the playoff game situation makes no sense. Play the games in London if the team wins its division, not like that will happen anytime soon if the Patriots are in the division anyway. Play the London home playoff games, if there ever are any in our lifetime, on a schedule that works best for the most amount of time off between games for the team traveling to London.

    Again, I think the idea is stupid, but not for logistical or travel reasons.

  35. Someone needs to make sure Roger reads the comments section every time this asinine notion is brought up. At least 90% of the fans thoroughly despise this idea.

  36. Goodell is an extremely smart man. Hence, I wonder, when he proposes stuff like an 18 game regular season, or a team moving to London, what is the real motive?

    Unless monetary greed has dulled his common sense, it may be that there is another item on his agenda that he wishes to push thru. With all the uproar over the London move, maybe he hopes folks wont notice some other moves that they might otherwise rail against?

    Yes, I am bored and conspiracy theories are fun, so why not?

  37. One thing the NFL and London have in common, both of them are home to a large, unsightly, immobile object that looks to be hundreds of years old. Big Ben.

  38. As a Jaguars fan, I find this posturing by the national media to be premature. Shad Khan just bought the team. He has two choices, either secure his legacy as a great NFL owner, that supports the underdog, and builds a winning team that is starting over.OR be a pawn of Goodell and some other NFL power brokers. He is already a billionaire, and probably doesn’t like being told what he has to do…There are a lot of logistics that must be worked out before any team goes full time to the UK….He would lose millions by breaking the lease before 2027, he might make many, many more millions going to London…the choice is really his, no one else…we shall see….

  39. This garbage gets so ridiculous. The national media has consistently made it out as if the Jaguars have the most horrid attendance in the league and nobody shows up for games in Jax at all so we need to move them. What the national media does not tell you is the Jags ranked 20th out of 32 teams in home attendance last year during a 2-14 season at an average of 64,984 per home game. That ranked ahead of franchises such as Pittsburg, Chicago, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Detroit, San Diego, Arizona, St. Louis, Miami, Tampa Bay and Oakland. Additionally have not had a blacked out game in 3 seasons. But the national media won’t ever print that info. It’s far better to make it out as if only 10,000 fans a game show up

  40. The NFL should really concentrate on getting a team in Los Angeles which would be an automatic Slam Dunk! London is not even close to being a Sure Thing. This is really all about the massive egos running the NFL.

  41. Stupid. 5-8 hour time difference, where now its 3 hours max.

    Every team in their division would have the penalty of at least one away game half a day, and half a globe away…. The following week’s game would be like a short week game.

    Goodell, at least half of the posters here could do a better job. And that is really scary. You are killing our football because you are so greedy, you make big mistakes reaching for the wrong $$. Let football be football. Go away.

  42. Dennis Allen’s Outgoing Persona says: Jun 5, 2013 6:30 PM

    Moving to London is the stupidest thing ever. Teams that have to endure a 9 hour flight (from the east coast at that!) 8 times out of the season.

    They wouldn’t be travelling across the pond 8 times in a season. It would be back-to-back-to back home and then the same away (utilising a US training facility), so probably four round trips. I don’t think the travel issue is insurmountable, but there are plenty of other reasons why a London franchise is a flawed concept:

    1. Impossibility of attracting decent free agents

    2. Income tax implications

    3. The fact that fans in Europe already have teams they support and won’t spend big bucks on season tickets and merchandise for a ‘second’ team etc.

    Besides, as a Browns fan I detest the whole concept that franchises are able to relocate from city to city (be it London, LA or whatever), disenfranchising existing fans.

  43. London and Mexico city and a Canada city with one or more wild cards ( Rio Paris Berlin Tokyo ) will be needed to get an overseas division to work. Starting with just one team will be problematic… gonna need to develop several at the same time. It’s just the travel time division placements and tax codes in the way. I’m holding my breathe for the next 20 years. kinda like the 32 team format

  44. sfsaintsfan- Consider this, the London home team will have at minimum 16-transAtlantic flights per year (8-each way}. The return flights especially are going to cut into practice schedules. Will the NFL planners stagger those games into every other week, or will the London team be staying over here for two-three weeks? Practicing in strange facilities, staying at unfamiliar hotels. It “does” put that team at a distinct disadvantage.

    Win it all this year Gus, it may be your last chance.

  45. jaxbeachjagfan says:
    Jun 5, 2013 9:27 PM
    Also a fact not considered is Jax has a very strong lease until 2027. Only way team can break it would be to open their books to the city and prove 3 consecutive years of losses. No NFL team has ever opened their books to the public. Ever.
    The rent buyout is a drop in the bucket in comparison to the numbers involved, you have to think much bigger than you are.

  46. An NFL team in London is completely crazy. Goodall is nuts. The logistics would be a nightmare, and really, who cares? How would that improve football? If you want to move them, send them Los Angeles who really needs a team.

  47. First of all, I live in Boston and it is a 6 hour flight from Boston to London. Flight is not so bad, but I do think it could work if London really shows that they want an NFL team. I think it would be a great idea if London really wants it, but if not then terrible move. Get a team in LA before London. I am a big fan of England and would love to see a NFL team in London, but it definitely is a risk.

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