SBD/October 8, 2012/Franchises

Khan Heads To England This Week To Promote Jaguars To British Audience

Khan will make TV appearances and meet members of Parliament
Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan is going to London this week "to begin the serious business of promoting his team to a British audience," according to Peter King of SI.com. The Jaguars next season begin a run of four straight years playing in London, and Khan is "determined that the Jaguars become England's NFL team, and perhaps Europe's, over the next few years." He also sees that as "part of the plan of the Jaguars' long-term future in Jacksonville." King: Who knows if the Jaguars can dent the English sports scene, or the European one," but Khan is "going to try." He will make appearances on the BBC and Sky Sports this week and will "meet members of Parliament anxious for an influx of American sport." Khan and K Josh Scobee also "will be guests" at England's FIFA World Cup qualifier against San Marino Friday at Wembley Stadium. Scobee "will have some sort of kicking exhibition at halftime of the game." Khan and NFL CMO Mark Waller on Thursday will announce the Jaguars' opponent for the '13 game. Khan said that "it's 'highly likely' Jacksonville may eventually play two home games a year in Europe." King notes the Jacksonville market "won't take kindly to losing a second home game," and Khan's "outside-the-box thinking is a double-edged sword." King: "I'm not so sure the Jags are in Jacksonville in 15 years with conventional thinking" (SI.com, 10/8).

GETTING COMFY: In N.Y., Judy Battista noted the Jaguars spent more than $3M "to construct the NFL’s most luxurious locker room” at EverBank Field. The locker room “looks like a cross between a high-end nightclub (a 41,600-watt sound system) and a five-star hotel (stacked stone wall tile) and is so deluxe that the team recently used it to host a dinner for sponsors.” In the “most visible attempt to overhaul their image” under Khan, the Jaguars have “embraced their inner interior designer, replete with two waterfalls that splash into plunge pools, Euro-style toilets inside individual private stalls and leather chairs custom-built extra wide to accommodate even the heftiest linemen.” There are “ventilation systems built into each locker to dry equipment, helping the Jaguars to pull off the unimaginable: the locker room smells like a new car instead of a sweaty sock.” Jaguars Senior VP/Football Technology & Analytics Tony Khan, Shahid's son, said, “It’s first class, just to show that’s how he does things. It’s the best locker room in the NFL. He wants this to be the best organization in the NFL.” Battista noted Shahid Khan “personally met with the designers and approved the details” of the locker room (N.Y. TIMES, 10/7).

RIDING THE STORM OUT: Khan yesterday said he plans to “stay the course” with GM Gene Smith and coach Mike Mularkey despite the team’s lackluster start. When told there are “questions about what his style will be as an owner and how patient he will be,” Khan said that he is “still figuring out his style as an owner.” Khan also said that the Jaguars “need the support of the fans.” In Jacksonville, Vito Stellino notes the Jaguars “announced they distributed 67,012 tickets” for yesterday’s game against the Bears (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 10/8). In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette notes being “outscored 95-20 at EverBank Field in 180 minutes of football is far more embarrassing than any tarps over seats or having one playoff win in the past 12 years.” The Jaguars are a “game-day disaster.” A change to black jerseys did “nothing against the Bears to alter a train heading in a bad direction” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 10/8).

ROLE MODEL
: Khan said that he “respects and looks up to” Bears Owner the McCaskey family because he "intends to keep the Jaguars in his family.” He said, “It is a great family business. I can say that now with a greater amount of certainty. It’s small enough and passionate enough that it’s the ideal family business” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/7).
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