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Monday, February 26, 2024
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Shad Khan Weighs Jaguars’ Future In Jacksonville, London

  • The Jaguars just became the first team in NFL history to play two consecutive games in London.
  • Jacksonville and the team are negotiating a deal to fund a major $2 billion renovation to EverBank Stadium and the surrounding area.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan attends an NFL International Series game against the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the middle of a love triangle between their namesake home and one of Europe’s largest cities.

The Jags made the most of being the first team in NFL history to play two consecutive games in London, defeating the Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills. Excluding 2020, the Jaguars have played at least one game across the pond every season since 2013 — one year after owner Shad Khan bought the team and the same year he bought Premier League club Fulham F.C.

During the Jaguars’ game against the Falcons, Khan spoke with both Jacksonville mayor Donna Deegan and London mayor Sadiq Khan on the field.

“She talked about how important the Jaguars were, and Sadiq told her how important the Jaguars are in London,” Khan told the Florida Times-Union of the meeting. “Our presence here over the last decade has really put Jacksonville on the map. Ten years ago, as Sadiq said it to Donna, nobody knew what Jacksonville was. Now, people know what it is.”

The inflection point between Jacksonville and London comes as the Florida city and the team are negotiating a deal to fund a major $2 billion renovation to EverBank Stadium, as well as development of the surrounding area. Jaguars’ leadership has been pushing for essentially an even split in costs with the city.

“That whole area needs development and that is a public-private partnership,” said Khan. “Just by us owning it, the stadium by itself really doesn’t do anything. You’ve got to develop the entertainment around it, get energy, and it takes a government agency to be able to do that.”

Khan notably owns Fulham’s Craven Cottage, but Jaguars president Mark Lamping notes that “the models are different” between the Premier League and the NFL, with almost all clubs in the former owning their own stadiums and often competing with other grounds within the same city.

The Jaguars aim to have negotiations with Jacksonville completed by the second quarter of 2024. For the city’s part, Deegan insists that she will be directly involved in the talks, saying, “The buck stops with me.”

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