The Jacksonville Jaguars’ plan to play two of their eight home games in London during the 2020 season drew immediate pushback from fans in the franchise’s home market, with some threatening this week to cancel their season tickets.
Jaguars executives touted the decision as a necessary step to boost revenue for the small-market franchise, which earns twice as much from home games in London as it does for games at TIAA Bank Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. However, the move placed a strain on the Jaguars’ relationship with die-hard fans in its home market, including the Bold City Brigade, a fan collective that formed the “Duval Coalition” on Wednesday to spearhead a unified protest campaign.
“We call on all Jaguars fans to make their voices heard. We will be consulting with our members about actions to take going forward,” the Bold City Brigade said in a statement.
The Jaguars took steps to placate potential outrage from season ticketholders about the reduced slate of home games. The team said 2020 season ticket holders would receive a 50 percent discount off preseason games and “favorable variable pricing” on the six regular-season home games, for overall savings of an estimated 15 percent compared to the price of a package last season.
The team has yet to announce how much season ticket packages will cost for the 2020 season. For the 2019 season, the Jaguars offered season tickets in the general bowl section at TIAA Bank Stadium for as low as $39.
"We know how passionate this fan base is and we're all striving for the same thing: to keep the Jaguars strong in Jacksonville," Jaguars president Mark Lamping said in a statement. "We look forward to having productive dialogue with the group, which as I understand it consists of season ticket members and local business owners. It's important for us to listen to our fans."
The Duval Coalition represents more than 4,000 season ticket renewals for the 2020 season, according to its website. At present, it’s unclear if its members would consider a mass cancelation.
The Bold City Brigade did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Jaguars are spearheading a $700 million project to create a fan entertainment center outside TIAA Bank Stadium. Team officials say the second London home game will boost revenue until that potentially revenue-driving project is complete.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan said Tuesday he expected fan reaction to the second London game to be positive.
"I think if you go back when the first game was announced and really historically what that's done for the city and done for the Jaguars, so my expectation is that it should be very positive," Khan said. "Everything we're doing helps the city, helps us, and that's what you need a small-market team to do to get on a competitive footing with all the resources you need to compete with the other big-market teams."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.