The NFL International Series in London has been a powerful success as tickets have continued to sell out over the 12 seasons since the first contest was played at Wembley Stadium. The addition this year of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to host two events has allowed matches to be played on grass pitches rather than the grass pitches of Wembley Stadium. The atmosphere has improved significantly since the early stages of the series, allowing teams that had given up on home games for the game a real taste of home field advantage.
— Game Day Tourist (@gamedaytourist) 13 October 2019
No team has appeared in additional games than the Jacksonville Jaguars. They have close ties to London given their owner Shahid Khan also owns Fulham Football Club. Khan also attempted the ambitious move of buying Wembley Stadium from the Football Association, even though in the end it did not. The motive behind his bid was reportedly the idea of potentially moving Jaguar to London to become the first franchise to move abroad.
The NFL has proposed that a team could move to London in the near future, even though that would involve adding a 33rd team to the league or moving an entrenched team in the city. The team has moved recently as the Rams and Chargers have moved to Los Angeles from St Louis and San Diego respectively. A team in the Jaguars mold would make plenty of sense as their crowd at the TIAA Bank Field wasn’t huge, with their average attendance placing them in the middle of the pack.
It’s worth considering that there are already the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Florida to represent the NFL, together with a plethora of successful college football teams over the years. That Jaguar’s popularity on Facebook shows that is not an enormous digital franchise following, boasting only 633,060 likes. During his time in Jacksonville there was no element of success which would naturally lead to a rise in popularity. The Jaguars never made it to the Super Bowl, earning three berths in the AFC Championship, but they never got over the hump. They recently let a 10-point lead against the New England Patriots slip into the fourth quarter to miss out on an opportunity to compete for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Under Doug Marrone there was hope that a core cast could compete in the AFC for the next five years, but they’ve already been eliminated. Quarterback Blake Bortles was released at the end of the 2018 season after failing to become the quality starter the franchise hoped for when they picked him in the first round of the 2014 Draft. Cornerback All-Pro Jalen Ramsey has been traded to the Rams for the first two round picks, leaving the Jaguars without a real franchise player.
As a result, there’s nothing that ties the team to Jacksonville beyond a small core of supporters. If the NFL were to move the team to London – the Jaguars would be their main target and it would make perfect sense for all concerned.