Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan is playing the news that the Jacksonville Jaguars will "host" four games in the United Kingdom over four years as a positive. In a press release from the NFL, Khan called the games a "priceless opportunity" to grow the Jaguars brand:
"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."
So far, the assignment of regular season home games to international locations has been associated with losing host franchises, or teams with struggling home attendance. Both qualities could describe the Jaguars, who have finished .500 or worse their last four seasons and have previously struggled to sell out EverBank Field in previous years.
The St. Louis Rams will host the New England Patriots at Wembley Stadium this season, as the Rams continue to try and negotiate for a new stadium in St. Louis and are a combined 15-65 in the last five seasons.
In its press release, the NFL pointed to sustained ratings growth and increased tickets sales as a sign that the U.K. is a growing NFL market. How or if that translates into support or revenue for the specific teams sent to sacrifice a true home game is yet to be determined.