The Jaguars playing back to back games in London affects the local Jacksonville fans, the European NFL fans and the Jaguar’s players and franchise, but which one benefits the most?
The Jacksonville fans in Jacksonville
Clearly these are the fans hard done by in this situation. Since 2013 the Jaguars have given up one home game every year to play in London. They have played seven “home” games in London, (3-4 record) which is way more than any other NFL franchise, the second NFL team with most homes games in London is the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams who have played four “home” games in London (2-2 record) . With just eight regular season home games for NFL fans, the team is asking a lot of the local fans to give up a quarter of their home games.
I’m sure the local fans are even more miffed because their city has spent millions (not the Jaguars) on revamping the stadium, to attract more fans to their games, they even installed a massive swimming pool in the stadium, and now two of those games will be in London. Season ticket holders have every right to be angry.
It is clear that having a consistent team in London has helped new fans to the sport to pick a club, many neutral have also jumped on the Jaguars band wagon simply because of their commitment to playing in London for so many years. European Jaguar fans are no doubt happy that they get to see their team play twice, but how happy are fans of the other 31 teams?
Of the 32 NFL teams only thirteen have given up a home game to come to London, and just one team, the Green Bay Packers have never played in London. I’m sure there are plenty of cheeseheads out there that are desperate to see their team play in London. While it is good that Jaguars want to commit to two games of the four in London, it stops another team from having that opportunity- though I’m sure several teams simply do not want to give up a home game anyways, and are quite happy for the Jaguars to continually put their hat in the ring.
As an NFL fan I am happy for more games in London of course but I do worry that the neutrals might only pick one of the Jaguars London games (based on their opponents)- the Jaguars have improved the last two seasons and that helps, but anytime you have more of something people will start to cherry pick, and with now four games in London many fans do just that. The Falcons will host the Broncos and the Dolphins will host the 4th game (opponent to be confirmed)
I like the back to back element, but I know for fans travelling from out of London, it is two expensive weekends back to back road trips when you consider travel, tickets and hotels costs.
The Jaguar’s franchise and players
I think overall this group are the big winners. The Franchise once again gets a lot of media coverage in London. They have been here seven times before so they have a clear advantage over their opponents, in terms of travel and adjustments.
The big advantage is that second game. The Jaguars will have been settled in , while their opponents are going to be travelling a long way in that second week. The players know the International series is good for the game and for themselves as players in terms of their personal brand, but by doing back to back games those players will at least feel that the second game should certainly feel more like a home game from a logistical perspective. Although from a game day point of view, because the International Series games are filled with neutral fans, the “home” players miss out on that home field noise advantage, especially if their opponent has a big following in the U.K.
Written by Adam Goldstein @TailgateKnight