JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars are officially extending their London connection.
The Jaguars, who will play a designated home game at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday for a third time in three seasons, will continue to do so every year through at least 2020, Jaguars Owner Shad Khan and the NFL announced on Thursday.
“Our four-year London initiative has been every bit as rewarding as we anticipated, certainly due in large part to the league’s commitment to the UK and the world class experience that Wembley Stadium has provided the Jaguars, our fans and our partners,” Khan said in a statement.
“Our interest in extending our agreement to play a home game each season in London is nothing new. So, we’re very happy to make it official today.”
The announcement came as the NFL announced it had extended its agreement to play regular-season games at Wembley for an additional five years. According to the league, that means at least two games a season will be played at Wembley through 2020.
The NFL also has the option to extend the agreement five years beyond 2020. Khan in August had said the Jaguars were interested in a long-term agreement perhaps through 2030.
The Jaguars originally agreed to a four-year commitment to play home games at Wembley. That began in 2013, when the team played the San Francisco 49ers there. The Jaguars played the Dallas Cowboys at Wembley last season.
They will play the Buffalo Bills in the third game of the commitment Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.
“The NFL International Series has enjoyed a unique relationship with Wembley Stadium and we’re delighted to be extending that deal,” FA Group Operations Director Julie Harrington said. “We are proud that the NFL identified Wembley Stadium 10 years ago to serve as the focal point of its vision for international expansion.
“Since then, we have forged a very special partnership with Mr. Khan and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Today’s news and this deal shows their trust and long-term belief in our venue.”
Said Wembley Head of Music and New Events Jim Frayling, “We’re delighted to extend the deal with the NFL and Jacksonville Jaguars. The NFL has been a key part of the stadium’s calendar since 2007, growing in scale and stature every year since.
“At the heart of our business model is how we maximize Wembley as a multi-purpose venue to ultimately drive funds back into grassroots soccer across England and we believe this deal achieves that and more.”
Khan and Jaguars President Mark Lamping both have said in recent years that the London game is crucial to the team’ s local-revenue equation, which in turn is key to the team’s long-term financial viability. Being strong in London, both have said, makes the Jaguars stronger in Jacksonville.
“This is great news for the Jaguars and the stability of the team in Jacksonville, which has come to embrace London as our home away from home,” Khan said in the statement.