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Volume 23 No. 8
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Khan: Goal is to extend Jaguars’ London deal

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan wants to continue playing an annual regular-season game in London after next season, when the current four-year term approved by his fellow owners expires.

Khan made his comments in an interview shortly before the Super Bowl. It’s the first time he has publicly said he’d seek more games in London.

Playing in London has “been really great for us,” the Jags’ owner said.
The NFL has not formally committed to playing more games, for any teams, in London beyond 2016, when the ownership decree for overseas play expires. However, league executives have been up front that their strategy envisions more games beyond next season.

“It’s been really great for us,” Khan said of the London games’ impact on the Jaguars. “Our goal is to extend it.”

Mark Waller, NFL executive vice president, international, said the league has not yet taken up extending the games beyond 2016 but expressed support for Khan’s intentions. The NFL began playing games in London in 2007 and will stage three there again during the 2015 season.

The league also has not been shy about suggesting there could be a team based in London in the next decade, with speculation naturally falling on the Jaguars. Asked about this, Khan said there is no such relocation plan at the moment, with the team focused instead on using London to supplement the franchise’s local efforts in Jacksonville.

Khan said that next Wednesday, during the team’s third annual state-of-the-franchise webcast, he’ll note that the Jaguars expect to rank 22nd among NFL clubs in terms of projected revenue for the 2015 season. That’s a big improvement from Jacksonville’s last-place ranking among the NFL’s 32 teams that Khan inherited when he bought the team in late 2011.

The annual London game has been a big factor in the improvement, with the team’s take from that game far higher than a local one because of the higher ticket prices and additional seating at Wembley Stadium compared with EverBank Field. Khan also ascribed the jump in revenue rank to outreach locally in the northern Florida city.

The Jaguars, he said, are now in the top 10 of Web traffic among NFL team sites and also rank among the top brands in the league outside the U.S. “That translates into things you can monetize,” he said, citing merchandise sales.

The club also wants to develop the area around EverBank Field, where a $63 million renovation already has brought the addition of a fan swimming pool, among other amenities.

As for the issues that have roiled the NFL overall this past season, Khan called on the league to be more proactive and less reactive. He also expressed strong support for Commissioner Roger Goodell.

“Roger is doing a great job,” he said. “The league is moving in the right direction.”