O-Zone: One to blame

JACKSONVILLE – The reaction continues.

We remain in all-London-all-the-time mode after Tuesday's announcement that the Jaguars will play two home games at Wembley Stadium in London in 2020.

Anger remains high, along with a lot of confusion and frustration. I can't do much about the confusion. I'll try to help a bit with the frustration.

Let's get to it …

Steve from Jacksonville

"First, I want to make it clear that our first priority is winning, and anything we do or say away from that will never be more important than giving Jacksonville a team that wins and the community can be proud to call its own." Was he laughing when he said this? It's awfully hard to call a team your own when another city owns them. I understand the need for him to make money, but this is an insult to us.

You're quoting Jaguars Owner Shad Khan discussing his decision to play back-to-back home games in London in 2020. He wasn't laughing because he was saying what he means and believes. Khan is trying to keep the Jaguars stable in Jacksonville while other teams continue to create local-revenue streams that cause the Jaguars to fall further behind in local revenue. This is a critically important element in NFL circles, and the Jaguars are doing what they can to maintain pace in the area by developing Lot J and the Shipyards. Those projects take time. Two games in London are a way of treading water until those projects are built. I understand fans don't want to hear that. I understand fans don't like it. That doesn't make those things untrue.

Steve from Williamsburg, VA

Why don't the Jags put a winning team on the field? It might increase local revenues. There has been one winner in the last 10 years. At least put a competitive team on the field. I know it is a novel idea, but don't you think it is worth a try?

The Jaguars are trying to win. They have been unsuccessful except for 2017. But they are trying.

John from Jacksonville

Has the NFL already approved two home games in London or is that still pending? The contract was a game in London until 2020, right? Then what?

Back-to-back games in London have been approved for 2020. The league and the Jaguars do not have an agreement beyond that.

David from Macclenny, FL

How does playing a game in another country make the team more money? I would think the cost of taking the team and equipment would make less profitable.

Playing another game in London isn't cheap. The revenue from the Jaguars earn from a home game in London dwarfs the expenses enough that it's not only worthwhile but critical to the team's financial future.

Noel from St. Augustine, FL

I have a feeling that a lot of these people complaining about two games in London aren't even season-ticket holders ...

True, but many are.

Rob from Fleming Island, FL

After listening to two full days of reaction to the London situation, my question is if the London game attendance is still very high or are there signs of waning fan support?

The London games sold out every year. It would be disingenuous to say they're sold out all because of Jaguars fans, but they are sold out.

Jack from Jacksonville

We're getting Major Leagued. Next we'll be told that Bob Uecker has been hired as the new voice of the Jaguars.

They didn't rebuild and reimagine downtown Cleveland in Major League. The Jaguars aren't trying to move. They're trying to create revenue streams to maintain some level of pace in that area with the rest of the NFL.

Adam from St. Johns, FL

If you think this second game in London is about winning, then you're a shill for the team. Winning is not a single thought with this franchise. Hope money bags can swim in his money like Scrooge McDuck. Not getting my $ anymore. Go ahead and move 'em.

First off, Alan – while I understand fans' emotions over this issue – the whole "shill" thing is tired and boring. Second, I'm trying to find where I wrote or said the London game was primarily about winning. I have written and said that the game is necessary for local revenue and the franchise's stability – i.e., survival – in Jacksonville. In the long run, that financial stability is good for the Jaguars on the field – and for being able to stay in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are trying to keep up with the rest of the NFL with this move, plain and simple. But know this: the franchise is trying to win. They haven't done a good job the last two seasons, but that's the objective.

Hulk from Las Vegas, NV

Oh man, O Man: I can only imagine what your inbox will look like now after the news of a second game in London. First off, Khan is a businessman, just like every other NFL team owner, and he's going to do what he thinks is best for revenue. He could easily fold up shop and move the team since HE OWNS the team. But he hasn't and by all accounts won't. This is a reflection of all the "I will not spend my hard-earned money on season tickets" fans and O-Zone attendees voicing and carrying out their threats. Now they've helped back him into a corner to find money for the team. But they won't see it like that. Only more complaining and moaning and threats are sure to ensue. The season is over, and it sucked majorly. Season's over and it's time to find revenue. Complainers: you made him do this. We have a fragile market to begin with and you're throwing accelerant on the flame. Congrats. Let the complaint commence.

OK.

Gregg from Jacksonville

Mr. O, you knew this was coming as soon as you put the two London games as a discussion point. London is not a home game! How do I know? I went to the last two London games and the opposing fans outnumbered us. This is not going to endear the Jags to Jacksonville and will likely allow Mr. Khan his dream to move the team to London with his other team Fulham. A very sad day for me as a 17-plus-year season -ticket holder. To slap the fans in the face like this is truly reprehensible. Good luck Jags. I grew up going to the Dolphins games in 1972. Guessing my allegiance will go back there as they play eight home games a year. Buh-bye..

I won't argue that Wembley Stadium is a homefield advantage for the Jaguars. I have been at every game the team has played there, and you're right that the last two games have felt like pro-Philadelphia Eagles and pro-Houston Texans crowds. I believe a lot of that is because fans of those teams treated the game like a college bowl game and traveled there for the novelty of it – but whatever the reason the effect stated the same. But I can't agree that Khan's dream is to move the team to London or to move the team from Jacksonville. If he wanted to do that, he wouldn't be investing in Lot J or downtown Jacksonville. He wouldn't be investing in the TaxSlayer Bowl. If he wanted to move, you know what he would have done? Move. He hasn't done that and that's not the plan.

Ken from Jacksonville

Playing two games in London is why we'll be able to keep six games in Jacksonville.

Absolutely.

Confused from Londuval

Why keep the team in Jacksonville if it makes more money overseas?

Because he wants the team in Jacksonville and believes it can work here.

Bill from Jupiter, FL

How does playing another game in London realistically help the Jags in the long run? What's the actual financial benefit? Khan is starting to really alienate a fan base that doesn't see the logic.

This has been explained repeatedly on this website, and here's a link to a story from Tuesday on why Khan and President Mark Lamping believe the action is necessary. The gist is that the London games create additional revenue for the Jaguars, and a second London game is a way of keeping pace with the rest of the NFL financially while the critical Lot J and Shipyards develop. The hope is the Lot J and Shipyards projects will allow the Jaguars to keep pace in terms of local revenue, and therefore become a stable franchise in an NFL that is rapidly becoming a financial arms race. We're in a short-attention society, so I don't expect many "alienated" fans to have the patience to grind through to the granular details of that logic, but that is the logic.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I feel bad about how your inbox looks. I just wanted to check: Was this your decision?

It wasn't my decision, but it was my fault. Because everything is.

Advertising