sigh I can’t believe we have to keep doing this. It’s been, what, almost a decade of these rumors and it still hasn’t happened? So yeah, let me get out ahead on this and just say it:
THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS ARE NOT MOVING TO LONDON.
The rumors have started back up with the 2023 International Series being announced on Wednesday, and the Jaguars playing two games in London, in Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons in Wembley Stadium and Week 5 against the Buffalo Bills in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Jacksonville keeps eight home games, but switches out two road games for two international ones.
Of course, this led to speculation that if the NFL ever decides to expand to London, the Jaguars will be the one to make the move. Just like every other year when the international games get released and the Jaguars play in London.
Shouldn’t we be getting bored of this? The Jaguars won’t be moving to London anytime soon, and here’s why.
The Jaguars on spending on facilities in Jacksonville
The Jaguars have actually begun to make serious investments in the Jacksonville area. For starters, renovations are set to come to TIAA Bank Stadium after global design firm HOK was tabbed to be the consultant. Mayor Lenny Curry spoke to local radio station 1010XL on Wednesday to talk about potential renovations to the stadium and a possible completion date, noting that the Jaguars would have to find another place to play for at least two years.
What's the latest on a new #Jaguars stadium?— 1010 XL / 92.5 FM (@1010XL) May 10, 2023
Mayor Lenny Curry provided some updates on today's edition of #XLPrimetimehttps://t.co/qXVrFdGvGC
This doesn’t mean the team will go on a two year boarding trip across the pond, however. The most likely candidates would be Camping World Stadium in Orlando or possibly Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville. Another option could be 121 Financial Park, where the minor league Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp play, but their stadium would have to go through major renovations to accommodate the Jaguars. With the new stadium potentially totaling over $600 million in upgrades, there’s no reason to believe that the Jaguars will be moving anytime soon.
In addition, the Jaguars’ new training facility is set to open over the summer, a $120 million investment in not only the Jaguars, but the city of Jacksonville. There’s no way the Jaguars can financially invest this much money into the city and then leave for London.
Furthermore, the Khans themselves have invested a lot of money into the downtown Jacksonville area. In Nov. 2022, Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s development company began work on a 4 Seasons Hotel and office building on the downtown Northbank riverfront, another investment worth millions of dollars. According to WOKV, the project should be done in July 2026, even more reason to believe that the Jaguars won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
The Jaguars stadium lease runs through 2030
A hurdle that the Jaguars will have to jump through is getting their lease on the stadium extended. Currently, the lease is through 2030, per News4Jax, and for the lease to get extended renovations have to be made, which is why the Jaguars have begun that process early. 24 of the 32 owners (75%) have to approve said renovations as well, which isn’t expected to be too much of an issue. There’s reason to believe that both the Jaguars and the city of Jacksonville want to get this completed, but the cost might push some taxpayers away.
In a Feb. 28 poll done by the Jacksonville Business Journal, 61% of residents said that they would oppose the city using up to $750 million of public funds to partner with the Jaguars on the stadium renovations. Mayor Curry has already said that the city of Jacksonville and the Jaguars will partner on the renovations, however. Don’t take the 61% opposition to paying for the renovations too seriously when making assumptions about Jaguars fans, however. Jacksonville was 18th in the NFL in attendance, and a majority agree that keeping the team in Jacksonville is very important.
If the NFL truly wants to expand overseas...
If the NFL wants to expand into London, they’ll probably end up creating four new franchises in order to get it done. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell floated the idea of an entire NFL division of teams in Europe, with London possibly supporting two franchises. This year for the International Series, London gets 3 games and Germany gets the other two. Due to renovations at the Azteca, Mexico won’t get any games this year.
An anonymous owner told Front Office Sports’ AJ Perez that expansion could lead to more lucrative TV deals, and while the owner wouldn’t give a timeframe for when it will happen, he did say that an international division would be happening. The logistics of international travel are a massive issue when it comes to this expansion, but the money on the table might be too much to ignore. There are higher odds that the NFL expands into international waters with four completely new teams rather than moving other teams away from where they are now.
So no, the Jaguars won’t be moving to London. Not now, not in two years, not in five years. It’s just not happening.