Fooch's Note: For continued updates on the 49ers-Jaguars London Series, we'll be linking these articles in our storystream surrounding this news.
The NFL has made official what Peter King reported earlier this morning. The San Francisco 49ers will travel to London's Wembley Stadium to face the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013. The game will take place on October 27, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. PT, 5:00 p.m. London time.
The decision is not all that surprising. The 49ers were one of the most logical opponents for this game as a non-divisional, inter-conference opponent. The 49ers made a trip to London in 2010 coming off a 2009 season in which they went 8-8 that had some folks (although definitely not all) intrigued by where the team was heading. 2010 was a stinker of a season, but it did not matter for planning purposes. Now the 49ers are heading back and hopefully, fingers and toes crossed, they will be coming in a bit more prominently.
This game likely means the 49ers will have their bye week the week of November 5, which would be Week 9, or possibly Week 8, depending on which week the season starts. This also means the 49ers will likely face the Bucs, their NFC East foe (team that finishes at same spot in standings) or the Tennessee Titans. The eastern opponent helps make the flight time to London a bit easier than it would be for a home game.
Here is the NFL release on the game, including some quotations from pertinent parties.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS TO HOST SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
IN LONDON IN 2013
The Jacksonville Jaguars will host the San Francisco 49ers at London's historic Wembley Stadium on Sunday, October 27, 2013, the NFL announced today.
The game, which will kick off at 1:00 p.m. ET (5:00 p.m. in U.K.), will mark the first in London for the Jaguars, who earlier this year committed to play one regular-season home game in the United Kingdom in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, all at Wembley.
"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."
Jaguars Owner SHAD KHAN confirmed the Jaguars' 2013 International Series opponent while speaking at a sports business conference in London earlier today.
"Everyone associated with the Jacksonville Jaguars is very much looking forward to our four home games in London through 2016, and we're particularly thrilled and honored that our first opponent will be the San Francisco 49ers," Khan said. "This is a unique and important opportunity for the Jaguars franchise, as well as for our fans and community. 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."
San Francisco will make its second appearance in the International Series. The 49ers hosted the Denver Broncos at Wembley Stadium in 2010, earning a 24-16 victory before a crowd of 83,941.
"The 49ers are excited and privileged to once again serve as ambassadors for the NFL and the game of football internationally," said 49ers Chief Executive Officer JED YORK. "Our 2010 experience in London was tremendous. The atmosphere at Wembley Stadium on game day was electric. The ability for us to share 49ers football with our faithful fans internationally is a treat for everyone in our organization."
The international series of regular-season games to date has contributed to increased NFL fan interest in the U.K., with a current fan base of 11 million, including more than two million avid fans, a 32 percent increase in the past two years.
Television ratings have also shown substantial growth - with Sunday viewership of NFL games up 154 percent and the Super Bowl audience having increased 74 percent since 2006. The NFL also has developed new and stronger business partnerships as a result of the International Series.