JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
John from Jacksonville
I appreciate Shad's commitment to Jacksonville. When will people here appreciate his efforts that will keep this team here for the long haul? Ask the people in San Diego, Oakland and St. Louis if they would give up two home games to still have their teams.
I doubt many fans will appreciate much until Lot J is complete, at which time they may see tangible evidence of Jaguars Owner Shad Khan's vision for downtown Jacksonville. And while it's true that people in San Diego, Oakland and St. Louis probably would take six home games ever season over none, I don't know that it's realistic to expect fans who are emotional over the loss of home games – indeed, the loss of a big part of their fandom and identity – to behave logically about that loss. And make no mistake: the outcry of emotion of this issue is real. No one around the Jaguars doubts that. But this is true, too: Khan's intention is to make the Jaguars work in Jacksonville. Period. Everything the team does outside the box to enhance local revenue – London, Lot J, Daily's Place, Shipyards – is done toward that end. Many fans aren't believing, understanding or hearing that these days. I wrote a couple of weeks ago that it's good for those who love the Jaguars in Jacksonville that Khan believes in the city more than the city believes in Khan. That was true then. It's even truer today.
David from Maplewood, NY
John, I don't believe at all as we sit here in February 2020 that Mr. Khan wants to or even currently considers moving the team. Still, you have stated that if the team plays well, local fans will come back and fill the stadium. I think there is at least a possibility as a result of the two games in London that might not be true. Isn't there a possibility that trying to make the franchise viable in Jacksonville in this way could lead to a series of events where he starts to consider moving? Especially if he is truly unaware of the negative fan reaction. I could realistically see an all-time low attendance as a possibility starting next year. By no means a certainty, but I think it would be foolish based on the reactions I have seen not to concede it is a possibility.
Khan wants the Jaguars to work in Jacksonville and has no intention of moving the team. The reason he and the team are so passionate about – and the reason they are investing heavily in – the developments around the stadium is to build up the revenue infrastructure to make it work. He wouldn't be focusing on those areas were he considering moving. Yes, attendance realistically could be very low next season. I'm not dim enough not to realize that. No, I do not think that low attendance would cause Khan to consider moving the team. He and the Jaguars understand the current circumstances.
Kyan from Le Mars, IA
Many people are trying to compare the Jaguars to the other small-market teams like the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers. There are so many problems comparing them. All those teams have been around so much longer than the Jaguars, for starters – so they have built a national fanbase. They all have also been to multiple Super Bowls. Plus, teams like the Packers and Chiefs are the only team in their state and are among very few teams in the Midwest. As someone in Iowa, the main fanbases in the Midwest are the Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, Packers and Chicago Bears. Florida alone has three.
Chris from Delray Beach, FL
I think it would be helpful (at least for me) if we knew what the actual revenue gain was for each game in London. How much money are we talking, especially in comparison to the revenue earned from games played in Jax? That info may help put things in perspective....
The Jaguars credit about 15 percent of their local revenue to London when they play one game there. It likely will be a little more than double that with two games. The idea is that once Lot J and other projects develop around the stadium, the revenue created from those elements will reduce the need for games in London.
Josh from Atlanta, GA
Obviously disappointing that it takes losing a second home game to prove viable to retain a franchise in Jax. There are only eight in the season and regardless of it technically being a "home" game, the team plays 10 games outside of the friendly confines of TIAA. HOWEVER, I get it. My question is two-fold: Did you honestly see this coming THIS year and do you believe it will go away once lot J projects are completed/funded?
Jaguars President Mark Lamping and Khan both have discussed publicly the possibility of two home games in London in the last few months, so … yes, I saw this in recent months and weeks as a possibility. Will it go away once Lot J is complete? Time and the dynamics of the NFL will tell.
Rob from Jacksonville
Are the players subject to paying more taxes in London games, essentially taking a pay cut? Do you see this being an issue bringing in players?
This has been greatly overplayed in recent days. Some players will be subject to higher taxes, but that is limited to the higher-earning players. Also, remember: The Jaguars play in Florida – where there is no state income tax. Their taxes for two London games will be higher than games played in Florida, but the overall money lost because of taxes for Jaguars players has been and will remain among the lowest in the NFL – along with teams from other non-state-tax states.
Scott from Medford, NJ
C'mon John. How is having six home games, two neutral-site games and eight away games when the rest of the league gets eight home games and eight away games competitive balance?
I've never said it was. For the Jaguars to have competitive balance with two – or even one – London home game on the schedule, they must turn London into a big home-field advantage. They have played relatively similarly in London as they have elsewhere over the last seven seasons – which is to say, not very well. But no matter how you look at it, London has not felt like a homefield advantage for the Jaguars the last two seasons.
Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL
You and Sexton both mention that we have to keep pace with teams that have new state-of-the-art stadiums like Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Why are we going to spend a bunch of money on Lot J and Shipyards when we need to spend it on renovations of our stadium or a new state-of-the-art, game-changing stadium. At the end of the day, when Lot J and Shipyards are done, won't Khan and the Jags need that to keep pace? That's my biggest concern zone, that Khan will want to move to a bigger market with a new and bigger stadium. I don't see our city being able to afford it. Maybe London with Wembley. Maybe some other big city in the world we haven't thought of.
Yes, the city and team will need to address the stadium when Lot J – and possibly, the Shipyards – are done. That's likely coming in the next half-decade or so. That doesn't necessarily mean a new stadium, but it absolutely will mean at least major renovations to the existing one. The stadium is aging. It's out of date. It will have to be addressed at some point.
Dane from Jacksonville
Anyone who has lived in Jacksonville for more than a minute knows that nothing ever gets built downtown. One could make a very strong case that downtown is actually worse now than it was 30 years ago. We all see the flashy, ridiculous renderings that the Times Union flashes across its front page on a near-monthly basis, tied to hollow "maybe" and "hope to" promises. But we've seen these shady developers disappear into the nighttime and time again after the City forks over millions of taxpayer dollars. Dirt never gets overturned and steel never gets erected. And thus, Downtown Jacksonville trods on as a ghost town. Deep down, I think everyone knows that there is a very strong probability that Lot J never gets built, just like the multitude of other shiny proposals that have come and gone throughout the years. What makes Lot J any different?
Marty from Jacksonville
John, could you explain how Lot J would increase revenue for the football team? What does a development like Lot J have to do with the football team? I don't get the connection.
Khan, and by extension the Jaguars, would be major investors along with Cordish Companies and the city. As such, they would get significant revenue from the projects.
Biff from Jacksonville
Does it make me a bad person that I'm laughing at the "two-London-game doom and gloomers?
Trust me. That's not what makes you a bad person.