National Football League team the Jacksonville Jaguars have announced a brand new partnership with British American Football Association team the Gateshead Senators. The partnership will help to deliver the Jaguars’ hugely successful grassroots American Football programme – JagTag – in schools and youth groups throughout the North East, as part of their goal to get more young people playing the sport throughout the UK.
First introduced in the UK in 2015, JagTag teaches students in primary and secondary schools a simplified, non-contact version of American football. Initially launched in London, and having also recently launched in Manchester, the programme has seen over 3,000 children (45% of whom are female) taking part in the sport. JagTag teaches the key NFL techniques of throwing, catching, evading and defending, and is suited to children of all athletic abilities and experience.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a professional American football team based in Jacksonville, Florida – owned by Shahid Khan, who also owns Fulham Football Club. Since their inception in 1995, the Jaguars have won two division championships and have made six playoff appearances. Considered the only NFL team with a ‘permanent presence’ in the UK (thanks to Shahid Khan’s links with the Premier League) the Jaguars have agreed to play one home game each year at Wembley Stadium until 2020.
‘The Jaguars aim is to make American football accessible to fans of all ages across the UK,’ says Hussain Naqi, Senior Vice President of International Development at the Jacksonville Jaguars. ‘We can’t wait to launch our JagTag programme in the North East of England, and are very excited to be working with the Gateshead Senators in doing so. We know that students in the North East will embrace the sport and enjoy playing JagTag as much as they have in London and Manchester.’
And it seems the feeling of excitement is mutual; Gary Marshall, Chairman of the Gateshead Senators, is equally thrilled to be working with alongside the NFL franchise. ‘We, at the Senators, are delighted that the Jags have given us this opportunity to work with them to deliver JagTag to schools and youth groups in the North East,’ he says. ‘JagTag is an excellent, inclusive way for everyone to experience the thrills of American football in a non-contact version of the sport. This will give us the chance to build upon and expand the work done by our Academy Programme, and bring football to an even wider audience.’
Backed by the UK government with a grant from Sport England, the JagTag Schools Programme is part of the Jaguars aim to grow grassroots American football in the UK, while helping to play a role in encouraging young people to lead active, healthy lives. Other initiatives include the Jaguars Academy, which hosts hundreds of amateur players annually, while the Jaguars Se7ens Cup offers winners of the tournament a once-in-a-lifetime trip to watch the Super Bowl.
JagTag Local Schools Launch Festival:
9th July, 10am–3pm
Gateshead International Stadium,
After the free Taster Day, schools will have the opportunity for JagTag to be taught to their students by trained JagTag coaches, provided by the Gateshead Senators. The students will then also have the chance to compete in local competitions and receive rewards – such as the chance to watch the Jaguars play live at Wembley Stadium in October.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ next game at Wembley will be against the Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, on Sunday 28th October. Visit their website for more information: www.jaguars.com/uk