SBJ/Sept. 2-8, 2013/Global Special Issue

Catching up with Shad Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham FC

Jacksonville Jaguars owner and new Fulham FC owner Shadid Khan is carving out a large profile in the U.K. sports scene. Since buying the Jaguars in 2012, Khan has set his sights on growing the team’s brand by playing outside of the United States, and eagerly stepped up when the NFL was seeking a team to establish a consistent presence in London. Over the next four years, the Jaguars will play a game each season in London, and there has been speculation of additional games in the market in the future. Khan talked to SportsBusiness Journal recently about the brand’s opportunity in London.

Khan jumped at the opportunity to have his Jaguars play in London and develop a U.K. fan base.
Photo by: Getty Images
“The London opportunity is huge for us, because it gives us a chance to really do something for the league and work in a leadership role. You have an international profile for the NFL and with the Jacksonville Jaguars.”

“From the business aspect, there is one less home game ticket for our fans to buy, from budgetary purposes. To me, it was very important we have full stadiums. You need the energy, yes you want the money, but I think it’s more than that in football. You want the 12th person in the stand and you want the energy. You want people getting out from behind their HDTVs and into the stadium. That’s a huge challenge in the NFL. So internationally, Jacksonville and London, can work together to do that. There is a synergy. One and a half million British travelers come to Florida each year. I’ve already seen people going to Disney World who would take a day off and come for a game. I met several people who did that. It’s good exposure for Jacksonville, great for investment, insurance, banking, to all get that exposure in London. And obviously, on the football side, we need the money. There is a direct correlation between the top revenue-generating teams and success on the field. Green Bay is a small market team but it’s No. 4 in NFL revenue. The only way we are going to be able to do that is a combination — obviously success on the field is paramount — but we have to get sponsors. We have a full-time person we hired, Laura Oakes, who is our U.K. sponsorship director in London and she is selling and promoting. We have the Union Jax Fan Club; it has over 9,400 fans signed up already.”

“It’s really very meaningful to us. It is something that could add a huge amount of value to us and we can add value to the league, and take the game to the next level.”

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