This morning, the NFL International committee announced that as part of its Global Markets Program, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been awarded the license to expand into the Republic of Ireland.
The Global Markets Program is a central component of the league which, each Spring, awards clubs with rights to selected international markets, that allows them to pursue activities that are consistent with what they can do in their home market.
The Republic of Ireland has a significant NFL following and the Jaguars identified it as being the natural next step to grow the brand and encourage new fans through opportunities and initiatives to benefit local communities and engage young people in the sport, including the flagship JagTag, a first step into playing the game of American Football.
On being awarded the rights, Shahid Khan, Owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars said:
"Since we arrived in London in 2013, we have made great strides in growing the Jaguars fan community outside of the United States with a committed and loyal supporter base already established across the country. Our Foundation reaches tens of thousands of young people each year through the delivery of community programs like JagTag and is committed to providing sustainable solutions to tackle inequality and to support the development of young people.
"I am delighted to be able to announce that we are expanding our marketing rights into the Republic of Ireland, which not only underpins our long-term commitment to the UK but presents us with the opportunity to amplify our trajectory of growth internationally. The Republic is famous for its love of American Football, therefore appealing to new Jaguars fans through meaningful fan engagement and bespoke initiatives that will contribute to communities in the Republic, will truly reflect the Jaguars position as an international NFL team".
Maria Gigante, VP of UK Operations at the Jaguars added:
"A lot of hard work went into securing this bid for the Jaguars expansion into the Republic and we are very happy that we've been successful. This opportunity forms part of wider strategic aims to grow the business portfolio commercially outside of the U.S and harness the growth of the NFL as a global brand.
"We know there are many knowledgeable fans of the game here who we would like to engage with, and after the success of last season, we'd like to take them on the next step of the Jaguars journey with us to truly drive an international following of the team. This summer we are taking some of our stars on a tour around the UK, and we are already planning next summer's activities which will include a trip to the Republic".