When it comes to an annual NFL game, London’s still calling. The football league announced on Oct. 11 that the San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars will face each other at London’s famous Wembley Stadium next season. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 5 pm London time and will take place on Sun. Oct. 27. The Jaguars made a commitment to playing one regular season game in London each season from 2013 to 2016 and this will be the first of those four contests.
Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, said he’s happy the Jaguars have made a commitment since it will help the league promote and grow the sport in Great Britain and beyond. He added that he thinks football fans in Britain will enjoy the matchup between the 49’ers and Jaguars and it’s a great way to develop the game in other parts of the world.
Shad Khan, the owner of the Jaguars, was in London when the announcement was made and said that everybody in the franchise is looking forward to playing four home games at Wembley and are excited that the first contest will be against San Francisco. He claimed that playing in London provides Jacksonville with an important and unique opportunity for the fans as well as the club.
The 49’ers may be the visiting team in the game, but they’re the only one of the two clubs to have played at Wembley before, so they should know what to expect. San Francisco could part in the NFL’s international series back on Halloween night in 2010 when they beat the Denver Broncos 24-16. The game had no problem attracting football fans from Britain, North America, and Europe, as a total of 83,941 spectators passed through the Wembley turnstiles that day.
Jed York, the chief executive officer of the 49’ers said his team is happy to serve as an ambassador for the NFL again and is privileged and excited to be a part of next year’s game. He said the club enjoyed their visit to London immensely two years ago and remembers the atmosphere at the stadium as being simply electric. He added that he team is glad it can play in front of its fans in other parts of the world.
In total, this will be the 49’ers 11th game on the international stage, but just the third regular season contest. Trent Baalke, San Francisco’s general manager, said the team enjoys playing on the international stage as everybody takes pride in representing the franchise and the NFL. He added that the support the team received in 2010 was special and the club can’t wait to return to London once again.
San Francisco also played a regular season game in Mexico City in 2005 and were beaten 31-14 by the Arizona Cardinals. The game attracted 103.467 fans, which at the time was an NFL attendance record.