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Khan on Wembley: "Actions speak louder than words"


JACKSONVILLE – Shad Khan closed with four words.

"Be more secure, OK?" he said.

With that, the Jaguars' owner early Thursday night succinctly reiterated with words a message he has sent with actions for six years:

The Jaguars are committed to Jacksonville. Period.

Khan, the Jaguars' owner since January 2012, spoke with Jacksonville media at EverBank Field shortly before Thursday night's 2018 NFL Draft. The topic: the news that broke Thursday morning that Khan is attempting to purchase historic Wembley Stadium in London.

Khan was asked if he understood why the purchase was a "bombshell" for Jaguars fans.

"No, I can't understand why it was a bombshell," Khan said. "I have business deals and investments all over the world, so I don't understand. Every time there's a transaction [that] has visibility … you folks (media) start connecting dots that shouldn't be connected."

Khan, who also owns London-based Fulham Football Club, also was asked if he was hurt by fans and observers wondering if the purchase raised concerns about the Jaguars' future in Jacksonville.

"My feelings aren't hurt, but I think actions speak louder than words," he said. "I think the six years of actions here should be speaking volumes more than some blog."

Khan said purchasing Wembley would give the Jaguars "assurance" they will continue to have access to play games "when we want to play games" there.

"That is a very, very important part of Jacksonville Jaguars – being able to play over there," Khan said, adding, "For us, Wembley is not only an iconic stadium; it's great for the Jaguars."

The Jaguars have played a home game in Wembley each year since 2013, with Khan and President Mark Lamping both saying publicly in recent years that the revenue from the game is critical to the team's local revenue equation – and therefore critical to the franchise's viability in Jacksonville and competitiveness on the field.

Khan was asked if the purchase moved the Jaguars closer to two games per year in London.

"No more than they were yesterday," he said.

Khan on Thursday also noted that the Jaguars' international presence has helped in the areas of sponsors, noting multiple international companies who sponsor the Daily's Place Amphitheatre adjacent to EverBank Field.

Khan has said since purchasing the Jaguars that a unique approach was necessary to make Jacksonville a viable NFL market. As Lamping did on a conference call Thursday morning, Khan on Thursday evening said the Wembley purchase is part of that strategy.

Since Khan purchased the Jaguars, Khan and the City of Jacksonville have upgraded EverBank Field and the surrounding area, renovating the locker rooms, training facility and the US Assure Clubs in addition to renovating the north end zone deck and installing the world's largest in-stadium videoboards.

The Jaguars and the city also last year built Daily's Place Amphitheatre and the Flex Field practice facility adjacent to the South end zone. The Jaguars and Jacksonville last week announced they were partnering with international developers Cordish Companies on the area adjacent to the South End Zone, a project with an estimated investment of $2.5 billion.

"Look at the some of the stuff behind us – the boards, the pools [in the North end zone], the sounds you hear [from Daily's Place],'' Khan said. "What did we do to make NFL football viable in Jacksonville? It was clear after I got here that we were the smallest [market] in the NFL. We have very unique demographics. We have more non-Jaguars fans in Jacksonville than Jaguars fans. It's a fact of life.

"Instead of complaining about it we want to be proactive and do something about it and be at the cutting edge of a franchise that can win games and have a great experience."

Khan added, "The NFL – it is basically an arms race, so to speak: the latest technologies, practice facilities, coaching staff ... There' a salary cap, but there are a lot of things not constrained by money. High-revenue teams win. It's absolutely a fact. We've seen that."

Khan noted that even if he does own Wembley, future Jaguars games in London would be subject to approval by the NFL.

"I hope they're going to support us, and I think the league knows how important London is for us," Khan said.

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