Only six home games will be played at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville in 2020 after the Jaguars announced Tuesday they would be playing two home games in London next season.
According to team president Mark Lamping, their agreement with the NFL is to play back-to-back home games in London in 2020. Lamping said as of now the agreement is for 2020 only.
The Jaguars have played an annual home game in Wembley Stadium in London each year since 2013. This will be the first time any NFL team has played two games in London in one season. The Jaguars will be the first team in NFL history to play two home games outside of the United States in the same regular season.
"Those games will be played on back-to-back weekends on dates to be announced during the schedule release in April," Lamping said on a conference call Tuesday.
"As part of that, we are pleased to announce that we are protecting both the Steelers and the Chicago Bears games, so both those games will be played here in Jacksonville."
To compensate for the loss of a home game, Jaguars season ticket holders will receive a 50% discount on preseason games and "favorable variable pricing on the six regular season games that will result in an overall average ticket price reduction of 5 percent, representing a 15 percent savings off their invoice from last season," the team said in a statement.
"In addition, season ticket holders will receive a strong benefits package with features both new and improved that will be announced during the renewal process."
“Our work to create new sources of revenue to help us improve our long-term outlook and commitment to operating a thriving franchise in Jacksonville will continue and never end,” Lamping said in a statement.
“For the past seven seasons, our London strategy has been a game-changer. No single approach, including London, will answer the many challenges that are common with any market the size of Jacksonville. However, playing two games in London at Wembley Stadium, where we have outstanding relationships, at least next season and perhaps in future years during construction, will help us bridge the gap between now and when we expect the Lot J development to open. Jacksonville’s potential is unlimited, and I am confident we can realize it, with the Jaguars serving as the catalyst.”
The development of Lot J is an endeavor to develop downtown Jacksonville near TIAA Bank Field with a live entertainment center, restaurants, hotels, and more. The city of Jacksonville announced an agreement in August to work with the Jaguars, Iguana Development, and other national partners to develop Lot J.
Owner Shad Khan has long held a public opinion that games in London strengthen the Jaguars' place in Jacksonville, and stayed close to that message Tuesday. Since Khan became owner in 2012, the Jaguars have a 38-90 record.
“First, I want to make it clear that our first priority is winning, and anything we do or say away from that will never be more important than giving Jacksonville a team that wins and the community can be proud to call its own,” Khan said in a statement. “We are committed first and foremost to winning, and that commitment drives me and everyone at the Jaguars every day.
“We’ve also been honest about the importance of what playing games in London means to the vitality of the Jaguars as a franchise, and what a vibrant downtown means not only for the Jaguars, but for everyone who calls Jacksonville their home or maybe is thinking about coming here to live, raise a family, start a business or just spend more time here. I believe in what’s possible for Jacksonville and am going to do whatever it takes to help the Jaguars and the City of Jacksonville to reach its full potential."
While the original plan is to play two homes in London in 2020, there appears to be a chance this could be something that extends beyond next season.
"What we plan for the 2020 season and maybe a bit longer is all about believing in what Jacksonville can ultimately become, all while continuing to further grow and develop partnerships and a fan following in London and throughout the UK that have turned out to be pretty remarkable," Khan said in a statement.
“This isn’t about next season or the next few seasons in Jacksonville, but really about the next 10 years, 25 years and beyond. There is no better time than now to capitalize on the opportunity to play two home games in London, where we will continue to develop our loyal and growing fan base there and throughout the UK, during a period in which I will be focused heavily on creating a new downtown experience that we want, need and must have here.
"We have an exceptional opportunity right in front of us for Jacksonville to meet its potential and be the city I imagined we’d become when I arrived here in 2011. I am optimistic and believe it will happen.”
The Jaguars are 3-4 in games played in London since 2013, including a 26-3 loss to the Houston Texans in 2019.