Jaguars to play 49ers in London in 2013
Updated On: Oct 11 2012 06:13:10 PM EDT
The Jacksonville Jaguars will play the San Francisco 49ers in a "home game" in London on Oct. 27, 2013.
The announcement came Thursday morning at a news conference in London with Jaguars owner Shad Khan and some players.
In August, the Jaguars agreed to play a yearly game in London, beginning next season.
The game will kick off at 5 p.m. U.K. time (1 p.m. ET) at Wembley Stadium and will mark the first in London for the Jaguars.
"By committing to play a regular-season home game in London in each of the next four years, the Jaguars will play a major role in helping grow our sport in the U.K. and beyond," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We think Jaguars-49ers is a match-up our fans will really enjoy and a great way to start a new era in the international development of our game."
The NFL had been seeking a replacement for the St. Louis Rams, who pulled out of the final two years of a three-year commitment to playing a home game in London beginning this season.
Jacksonville will take over that role beginning in 2013 through 2016, with the annual game typically played in late October. Khan said he doesn't yet know who the team will face in future years.
Khan confirmed the Jaguars' 2013 International Series opponent while speaking at the Leaders in Sport conference in London on Thursday morning.
"This is a unique and important opportunity for the Jaguars franchise, as well as for our fans and community," Khan said. "To share this stage in our first year at Wembley with a rising power like the 49ers will bring additional attention and respect to what we're trying to achieve as a franchise. We can't wait to see our global vision for the Jaguars become reality next season."
Former Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver resisted requests to play in London for fear of sparking rumors the franchise would move, but Khan expressed an interest in the yearly overseas game upon purchasing the team last November.
Khan has stated his intention to keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville, while also trying to increase the franchise's profile. He emphasized the same Thursday, saying, "Make no mistake, we are the Jacksonville Jaguars."
"My message is, you're not going to lose a home game," he told the Florida Times-Union in July. "The home game is just going to be a little further away, across the water, across the pond."
So far, the series of NFL home games in London has contributed to increased NFL fan interest in the U.K., with a current fan base of 11 million, including more than 2 million avid fans, a 32 percent increase in the last two years.
Another area seeing substantial growth is television ratings.
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