JACKSONVILLE – The London marriage could become much more permanent.
That's the case if Shad Khan has his way, with the Jaguars' owner saying Tuesday he would like the team to play a home game at Wembley Stadium in London each season for the long-term – possibly through 2030.
"I'm optimistic that we'll have a renewal on that, and that it will go for a long time," Khan said, adding, "For us, London and Jacksonville is almost a marriage made in heaven."
Khan, speaking at the team's annual Back to Football Luncheon at EverBank Field, said the team's current deal to play one home game a year in London has been an absolute success and has helped stabilize the franchise in Jacksonville. That four-year deal began in 2013 and expires in 2016.
"It's been probably the No. 1 element in stabilizing the Jacksonville Jaguars," Khan said. "I think it's a crucial part of our franchise, to be able to play games there, to get the recognition and get the fan base. We have invested here and we want to invest obviously in London, and we want to have a long-term horizon to be able to do that."
Khan added, "What I want to be addressing is something I said here a little over three years ago, and that's that we're going to be doing everything to help stabilize the franchise. Over the last three and a half years, we've done that.
"(London) has worked out to be everything we've hoped for and more, and that's our agenda moving forward."
Khan said while he expects there to be multiple venues for the NFL in London, "our goal and our desire is to play only at Wembley."
The Jaguars played the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley in 2013 and played the Dallas Cowboys at Wembley in 2014. They will play the Buffalo Bills at Wembley in the third game of the London series on October 25 this season.
Khan also was asked about the possibility of playing internationally in cities other than London. He said because of the positive experience in London thus far that city remains the Jaguars' priority.
"I would expect the NFL may be looking at other areas, other markets to develop, but we want to have a focus," Khan said. "Jacksonville supplemented with London is our focus."
While some observers have speculated that a team – perhaps the Jaguars – could play a designated home game one week with a road game the week before or after, Khan said, "I expect us to play one game. That's my expectation."
Khan also dismissed the notion that travel and logistics – or playing a home game away from EverBank Field – puts the team at a competitive disadvantage.
"I think it can be a competitive advantage," Khan said. "When you get there, how you prepare, what you do – we're going to be playing another team there, too. They've gone through the same elements. I think that's frankly way overhyped. It's just a different venue with a longer plane ride."