Jaguars Owner Shad Khan "confirmed a report" that he is "intending to buy iconic Wembley Stadium" for $700M, according to Ryan O'Halloran of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Wembley is "currently owned by the Football Association, English football’s governing body, which would use the sale funds to further develop the sport in the U.K." The Jaguars have "played games at Wembley the last five years" and will play the Eagles there Oct. 28. Khan bought English soccer club Fulham in July '13. Last week in Jacksonville, he rolled out a $2.5B proposal to "develop Lot J and more area" around the Jaguars’ TIAA Bank Field. Khan said, "Today’s announcement is additional evidence that we are committed to create and enhance new revenue streams to boost the Jaguars." On Twitter, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry wrote Khan and the Jaguars “previously shared their interest in Wembley" with him. Curry added, “This is good for the team, Jacksonville fans, our city and downtown. The financial future of our team is getting stronger" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 4/26). The Independent's Ed Malyon tweeted, "Offer is too good to turn down. It's also a huge risk for Khan. Key: this is a power move to try and head off other NFL franchises interested in relocating to London." Sky Sports' Neil Reynolds: "Lots of chat about what it means for a London NFL franchise." Freelance soccer journalist Dan Levene: "Could be a massive game changer all-round" (TWITTER.com, 4/26).
LONG-TERM IMPLICATIONS: In London, Prynn & Olley note if the takeover "gets the go ahead more American football games are likely to be played at Wembley and it could even pave the way for an NFL franchise to be permanently based in London." A sale is also "likely to result in fewer" England national team matches being hosted at the 92,000-capacity north London venue, "particularly during the NFL season." However, it would "not threaten Wembley’s status as the England team’s home for all major fixtures." Khan is "thought to have been in secret talks" with FA CEO Martin Glenn and a "small circle of advisers for around six months." However, the idea "was first mooted" when Glenn and Khan met at Superbowl LI in Houston last February (STANDARD.co.uk, 4/26).
USL club FC Cincinnati has "unveiled two premium seating locations this season" at Nippert Stadium with the addition of "two on-field suites with space for 30 fans each," according to Steve Watkins of the CINCINNATI BUSINESS COURIER. The move was a "natural step" after the team "widened the field at Nippert Stadium" on the Univ. of Cincinnati campus before last season. The suites "feature high-top tables and areas for people to stand and socialize" and they "have a drink rail, too." Each suite "costs $5,000 per game," and food and drink is "a la carte and at the suite holders’ discretion." FC Cincinnati President & GM Jeff Berding said, “UC basketball and Xavier basketball have their courtside seats. This is our version." Berding said that the areas that now house those suites "had team banners over them last year." The space was "unused," but they "had a strong need." FC Cincinnati VP/Sales Jeff Smithsaid that "all of its other premium seats are largely sold out." The team has "sold all of its 1,100 club seats and 220 premium club seats for its 17-game regular season home schedule" and "all but one of the suites is sold, too." The team "sells the remaining suite on a game-by-game basis" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/25).
The new $350M Banc of California Stadium will open Sunday when LAFC host the Sounders, and the venue will feature a lineup of local restaurants and food vendors. Legends Hospitality runs concessions at the soccer-specific stadium, and Exec Chef Matt Eland said the goal was to pick up-and-coming vendors and restaurants that might not yet be household names but have talent and are representative of the stadium’s neighborhood south of downtown L.A. “We wanted to identify people on the leading edge,” Eland said. Local outlets that will be featured at the stadium include Beer Belly, which is known for duck fat fries, Bludso’s Bar & Que and the Seoul Sausage Co., a food truck run by brothers Yong and Ted Kim that specializes in items with a Korean flavor. This marks the second area sports venue Seoul Sausage is offered at, joining the L.A. Coliseum. Legends also runs concessions at the current home of the Rams and USC. Yong Kim said that the brothers’ relationship with the concessionaire could help take Seoul Sausage, which won Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race” in ’12, beyond its L.A. base. Legends runs concessions at Yankee Stadium, AT&T Stadium and Nashville’s Nissan Stadium.