Wednesday, June 5, 2013
On idea of two Jaguars games in London
By Paul Kuharsky
Playing one game a year for four years in London is a fine plan for the Jacksonville Jaguars, a plan that starts this year on Oct. 27 against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Jags are a young team facing a fresh start under new ownership, a new general manager and a new coach. Jacksonville is a small market. While the Jaguars have not been blacked out in a couple years, the stadium is hardly full on a regular basis. Unsold club seats don’t factor into blackouts. And we don’t know what Shad Khan or a sponsor is doing to buy up tickets at a cheaper rate to ensure games are on TV.
The Jaguars need to balance the need to continue to grow at home with the benefits of being the league's primary international franchise.
I wrote this last August:
I don’t think owner Shad Khan will have such a hard time selling his team’s American fan base on this idea.
I’d start by telling fans this: A season ticket package is expensive. It just got smaller and less expensive for the next four seasons. Instead of a 10-game slate, you get nine. (Sorry we can’t fix the preseason rip-off part, that predated our ownership.) Nine is cheaper than 10. You can live without one. And that one is going to help us in the revenue department in a way that should make us a more stable franchise, assuring you at least nine.
As Vito Stellino noted in a link I hit from the Florida Times-Union this morning, the Jaguars are not interested in taking on a second trip overseas. Will Brinson of CBSSports.com has a nice overview of it all here.
As easy as I felt it would be to sell the fan base on one home game a year in London, two is a completely different deal. There is one bye week a year, so one of the games would require a game the following week. That’s a major disadvantage given the travel.
Bigger than that is the idea that if two-eighths, a full quarter, of the regular-season home schedule was played abroad, more fans would feel like the team had one foot out the door in the first step of an ultimate relocation.
I think the Jaguars are wise to stick to what they’ve committed to.
More would be hard to justify and sell to their home city.