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A lot to like


Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown couldn't have been happier – or more impressed.

Brown, elected into office in May, on Friday was among the city leaders who met with Shahid Khan on the latter's first day in Jacksonville following his approval Wednesday afternoon as the Jaguars' new owner.

Khan later spoke to the media in a 23-minute news conference, where – among other topics – he again outlined and discussed his commitment to the city.

Brown said he liked what he heard, not only in private but in public.

"He spoke for 23 minutes, which shows his commitment to the city and his passion – which I love – about the Jaguars and Jacksonville," Brown said.

Khan during his news conference Friday not only spoke of a commitment to Jacksonville, to winning and to growing the fan base, but also said he planned to expand Jacksonville's fan base to a national and international level.

Khan said he would have interest in playing a game in London toward that end. Brown and Jacksonville City Council President Stephen Joost each praised that idea as a positive for the franchise and city.

"I understand exactly what he's saying," Joost said. "The more exposure you get, the more business and commerce you generate. I have friends who come over from England. A lot of them have never heard of Jacksonville, and when they get exposed to Jacksonville they love the place.

"I thought he was dead-on with his comments – the more we can expose the Jaguars and Jacksonville the better it is for everybody."

Brown said he has spoken with Khan about investing in the Jacksonville business community, and about potentially building a home in downtown Jacksonville. Khan said he didn't have a vision in that area yet, but said, "I think very soon we will have something."

"He's very positive about Jacksonville and brings a lot of passion and energy," Brown said. "He's committed to the team in Jacksonville and he's going to invest in Jacksonville. That's a very important thing. I'm excited."

Brown said he also liked the idea of Khan increasing Jacksonville's international profile.

"I'm excited about it," Brown said. "He wants to build a fan base internationally. He talked about the port and he's open to ideas on business. He's a true entrepreneur. He also talked about building a winning team. It's a two-way relationship, and I'm excited about it."

Tom Petway, a Jaguars limited partner since the team's inception, also attended the press conference. Khan purchased 100 percent of the team, and unlike former owner Wayne Weaver, said he has no plans for minority partners.

"It's the next chapter," Petway said. "We knew this day would come. We have a lot of respect for Wayne and Delores and what they want to do.  It's been a wonderful thing for the city and a wonderful thing for the partners and we're ready to go to the next chapter."

Petway added of Khan, "It's obvious listening to him he wants to do better and expects to do better. I'm very excited. I'm very excited about the change. I don't know him well. I've met him a couple of times. He's very impressive."

Joost, an owner of Firehouse Subs, said he also met with Khan for about a half hour in Weaver's office Friday. Since the sale was announced Weaver has talked several times about Khan's success story as a Great American Story, having come to the United States at age 16 to attend the University of Illinois and building his company, Flex-N-Gate, Corp., into a multi-billion-dollar business on a worldwide scale.

Joost said his impressions were not only of a success story, but of a man who wanted to help the Jaguars and Jacksonville have that same success.

"I just let them know we're ready to do our part to put Jacksonville in the Jaguars," he said. "I think the initial press conference went great. I liked his answers. "The American Dream right here. What's not to like about it?"

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