For any NFL team, a January without football is a January to be forgotten. Such is the case for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who, a year removed from an AFC championship appearance, were eliminated from playoff contention in early December. Despite the disappointing season (a 5-11 record), the Jaguars cannot be counted out in the coming years. The Jaguars still boast a formidable defense, the defining feature of their 2017-18 playoff run. Pro Football Focus’ highest ranked edge defender, Calais Campbell, and pro bowl cornerback, Jalen Ramsey, are two of the league’s premier defenders – and are both members of the Jaguars’ squad.
Off the field, the Jaguars have a secret weapon- one of the most unique fanbases in the league. In 2012, Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan signed a contract that would send the Jaguars to London for one game a year through the 2017 season, a deal that has now been extended through 2020. As a result of this unique agreement, the Jaguars have been able to build a stable fan base overseas. This, combined with the spark provided by the 2017-18 season, has given the Jaguars a revitalized and unique fan base that might propel them to success in the future.
The Jaguars highlight their UK fanbase on their website which contains a “Jaguars UK” section. This portion of the website sheds light on their UK presence, including things like the “Se7ens Cup.” In an effort to promote American football abroad, the Jaguars sponsor a seven on seven flag football tournament meant to target teens across England. Additionally, the Jaguars have created a campaign called “JagTag,” a simplified tag version of American football meant to target the younger generation of English football fans. The Jaguars have developed these programs to catalyze the growth of American football in Europe, something that might eventually lead to more international pro players in the future. This along with various other English campaigns make one thing clear: the Jaguars have made a significant effort to become England’s team. Their claim to the region has been successful thus far; Jaguars fan clubs have popped up in numbers across the pond, and though the future is unknown, we might be seeing more and more of the Jaguars in London. There are even rumors that the Jags may eventually relocate there.
Keeping with the English theme, the Jaguars sponsor an official fan group abroad, the Union Jax Fan Club. The group was founded in 2013 and now consists of over 50,000 members. Back home, the Jaguars have numerous fan groups and communities as well. The Jaguars are truly a symbol of Jacksonville and Duval County; fans’ favorite chant is “Duval ‘til we die.” In 2009, the NFL blacked out 7 Jaguars games from appearing on local TV because of poor game attendance. In an effort to increase game attendance, the league took away a part of every citizen of Duval and every Jaguars fan across the country (and the world). Fortunately, no Jaguars games have been blacked out since. From that point on, Jaguars fans have rooted for their team with a chip on their shoulder. Jaguars fans have demonstrated this passion with fan groups like Black and Teal and Gen Jag which unite fans both through virtual news and message boards and real-life fan meetups/watch parties. New look Jaguars fans are passionate and ready to help their team win.
FanWide has accounted for 14 Jaguars fan clubs and 20,000+ fans in its fan club network. Fans using the site have access to any number of watch parties in their area, allowing them to have easy access to the game no matter where they are. This is particularly useful to out-of-market fans who, with the site, have the ability to watch a football game with people on their side, making gameday all that much more exciting.
Unfortunately, the offseason has arrived for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The good news: they believe that they have the right pieces in place to take advantage of the coming months and prepare a rejuvenated squad that will be able to really compete in the upcoming season. The Jaguars’ unique fan base is growing by the day, and with an extra push abroad, the team has nearly established itself as England’s home team. With a nation on their side, the Jaguars believe that real success could be coming, and if the 2017-18 season was any indication, this success might be coming sooner rather than later. #DTWD