Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan had made an offer to buy Wembley Stadium, something that could further entrench the NFL in London.
Khan, the owner of the Jaguars and Fulham F.C., has made his offer to purchase Wembley Stadium from the Football Association. His offer would include the purchase of the 90,000-seat stadium for around 600 pounds–more than $800 million–while allowing the Football Association to retain rights to club seats and hospitality areas.
The proposal is expected to be discussed by the Football Association council at a meeting next month. If it does eventually go through, the purchase would make for a strong link between the NFL and London. The Jaguars themselves have long been connected to the city, as they have played there annually since 2013, and will continue to do so through at least 2020. That future slate will include their 2018 contest at Wembley Stadium, which will see the Jaguars face the Philadelphia Eagles on October 28.
Khan has issued a very detailed statement about his offer, noting the role it would play in shaping the Jaguars’ operations in Jacksonville going forward. More from The New York Times:
Wembley has become a second home for the Jaguars. In 2015, Khan signed a deal to play at least one game a year there through 2020. Those London roots, and the Jaguars’ occupying one of the N.F.L.’s smallest markets, have long created the suspicion that the team would one day pursue a move to London, becoming the first N.F.L. team to be based outside of North America.
In a lengthy statement, Khan said the offer should be seen as an effort to strengthen the Jaguars’ fortunes in Jacksonville, rather than a harbinger of a permanent move away from Florida.
“For the Jaguars,” he said, acquiring Wembley “would deliver another — and very significant — asset and local revenue source that would further strengthen our investment in London, which as everyone knows is crucial to the Jaguars’ continued sustainability in Jacksonville. In every respect, the Jaguars’ standing in London would be improved and dramatically enhanced if we are fortunate to be approved as the new owner and steward of Wembley Stadium, and that’s good news for the Jaguars and all of Jacksonville.”
Khan said the potential acquisition would not affect his ownership of West London-based Fulham, which is battling for a return to the Premier League. If it advances in the promotion playoffs, it may even face a deciding match at Wembley at the end of the season.
Keep in mind that any sale would still be off in the distance, as Khan’s offer has certain hurdles to clear before it is determined whether it is accepted. This offer from Khan comes as he also plots plans to play a larger role in developing parts of Jacksonville. Part of those plans include adding an entertainment district outside of the Jaguars’ home in Jacksonville, which would make the team one of the latest in the NFL to pursue such a development.
Image courtesy Wembley Stadium.