LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23: NFL fans arrive at Wembley prior to the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
With interest in the NFL in the United Kingdom at an all-time high, the Jacksonville Jaguars have made a multi-year commitment to International Series games in London.
The Jaguars will play one regular-season home game in the United Kingdom in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, all at London’s historic Wembley Stadium. The date of the 2013 game, as well as the opposing team, will be announced in the months ahead.
"Our goal is to continue to grow the game, and this commitment by the Jacksonville Jaguars represents a major step forward in our international efforts," said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. "We have had a tremendously positive reaction to our sport in the U.K. and we’re excited that the Jaguars are seizing this opportunity to raise the profile for the team as well as the Jacksonville community. The NFL is committed to working with Shad Khan and the Jaguars in every respect to help them grow their brand and fan base through the NFL International Series and the many opportunities these games will offer."
On October 11, 2011, NFL owners approved a resolution that authorized the league to schedule regular-season games in the U.K. in each of the next five years, including determining the number of games per season, the venue and the competing teams. All clubs were permitted to volunteer to play at least one regular-season game per year as a home team in the U.K. on an annual basis for up to five years, and the Jaguars’ proposal was selected.
In addition to the Jaguars’ 2013 game in London, the league is working to add a second game in the U.K. next year, with the intention of finalizing details in the coming months.
"The Jacksonville Jaguars will be a bold and ambitious NFL franchise," said Jaguars Owner SHAD KHAN. "Playing a home game in London over four seasons is consistent with our vision to introduce and grow the Jaguars brand globally, and we're appreciative of the support from the Jacksonville business community to make this a reality and winning proposition for everyone. This is a priceless opportunity to share the business, tourism and lifestyle story of Jacksonville with international audiences, and I know it will give the Jaguars a unique and powerful identity within the league and beyond."
Prior to the Jaguars debut in London in 2013, the 2012 NFL schedule will feature the St. Louis Rams hosting the New England Patriots at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, October 28. Demand for tickets to this game has been tremendous, with all 65,000 placed on sale to date having sold out and the remaining tickets being made available to fans in September.
The international series of regular-season games to date has contributed to increased NFL fan interest in the U.K., with a current fan base of 11 million, including more than two million avid fans, a 32 percent increase in the past two years.
Television ratings have also shown substantial growth – with Sunday viewership of NFL games up 154 percent and the Super Bowl audience increased 74 percent since 2006 – and the league has developed new and stronger business partnerships.