Jacksonville, FL - Ahead of the Jaguars trip to London this week, WOKV is talking with team owner Shad Khan about his vision for the game and what he wants to accomplish in the week leading up to it.
“I think it’s going to be a very busy week,” Khan says of the numerous business meetings he and Jacksonville city leaders have planned.
He says the core three industries of Jacksonville that drive the economy are shipping, banking and insurance.
“The epicenter of all of those industries are London.”
He says Jacksonville’s brand is “pretty much a white board” right now, and they have the opportunity to “redefine it going forward.”
And he says there are a lot of international NFL fans who would like a regular game experience.
“So it made absolutely perfect to be able to stretch our franchise to London.”
Khan says while the Jaguars have great fans, they need more fans. And he says London is a normal launching point for that.
“We’ve seen merchandise sales,” he says. “We’ve seen a number of other metrics that shows we’re moving the needle.”
Khan says they’ve had 17,000 British fans sign up for the Union Jax fan club, and they’ve gotten sponsors they wouldn’t have had otherwise.
According to Khan, about a million and a half tourists from the U.K. visit Florida, but they mostly go to areas other than Jacksonville.
“So I think this should be definitely an option for them to extend their vacation,” he says. “That’s a very simple aspect.”
He believes getting Jacksonville exposure on an international stage like this is a “very, very good thing.”
“I think everything starts with the relationships,” he says. “And there’s gotta be a first step in a thousand mile journey. We’re taking a number of the first steps.