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Brent's Blog: Things I Learned In London

Action News and the Jaguars at the Tower of London.
Action News and the Jaguars at the Tower of London.
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Updated: 10/31/2013 12:58 am
1. There won't be a franchise in London for a long time, if ever. Although there was an energy and buzz at events for the football game, it was apparent there is a long way to go to creating a culture of American football in London

The newspaper coverage hardly paid the game any attention leading up to the 49ers and Jags game or after it. There was a keen interest among international media all week long, but they are covering an event more than the football game.

Regardless of the exposure, the real reason I believe it will be quite some time before a franchise lands in London is because of the players. The Jaguars embraced the experience and I think they genuinely enjoyed some of the festivities. They mostly all made it clear they wouldn't want to play for a franchise in London. Players like Uche Nwaneri and Justin Blackmon both cited moving their families and the rigorous travel it would create as reasons why they doubt a permanent team will be there anytime soon. Nwaneri did say the NFL has a way of figuring those things out so you never know.

2. This was a huge win and a huge week for the city of Jacksonville. We spent enough time talking to city leaders to figure out that they will have some announcements upcoming about results of their trip to London. Shad Khan called it a pollination of leaders in Jacksonville and London. The city folks attended 21 different meetings and events to promote the city and lure business to northeast Florida. I talked to Khan before the game Sunday at Wembley Stadium and he said the entire trip had been better than he had even hoped. One person in the travel party noticed how Jacksonville was represented on British television. They said it was showcased as a paradise, a destination. That's exactly what this trip was about - putting Jacksonville on the world map. I have a positive outlook that this relationship is going to be a big deal for Jacksonville down the road. If people question Khan's commitment to Jacksonville, keep in mind he put a lot of effort and money into this cross promotion on two different continents. Khan hosted a dinner at the Tower of London that was exquisite, unique and top notch. When he addressed the guests at that dinner, he said "this is how we roll in Jacksonville." It was a powerful use of words in a room full of power players.

3. The Jacksonville Jaguars missed an opportunity on the field. We know the Jags are not very good - it didn't take London for me to learn that - but a competitive game would have won over some fans. An upset of the 49ers would have been off the charts, but that might have been a Miracle on Ice kind of upset. The crowd at Wembley Stadium loves the sport of football. They don't necessarily have favorite teams. A good showing combined with the Jags commitment to London for four years could have won over a new fan base.
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Brent Martineau
Brent is the Sports Director at FOX30/CBS47. He's been with Action News since March of 2008.
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