Jacksonville, FL - The Jacksonville Jaguars think that investing hundreds of millions of dollars overseas will help strengthen the team’s stability on the First Coast.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan is working to purchase London’s Wembley Stadium, offering more than $800 million for the deal. Jags President Mark Lamping says the proposal would allow The Football Association- which currently owns the Stadium- to also retain future revenue from club seats, valued at more than $400 million over time. Lamping says they’re now working on due diligence over the condition of the venue, and expect the deal could close in a matter of around eight weeks.
The deal was presented to the FA Thursday, but Lamping says it’s the culmination of more than a year of strategic conversations. He says, with FA ownership, they always ran the risk that the Stadium would be sold to another party that either had no interest in partnering with the NFL, or could not be as flexible in the scheduling.
“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,” says a statement from Khan.
NEW: Statement from Jags Owner Shad Khan, about his bid to buy Wembley Stadium. NOTE- Khan believes this would help bring in revenue to keep the team stable in Jacksonville. Finding new revenue options/boosting others was big part of recent “State of the Franchise”. pic.twitter.com/5sgysBAJxf— Stephanie Brown (@SBrownReports) April 26, 2018
Speaking to the media at the Jags’ Draft Party late Thursday, Khan said he sees the challenges that Jacksonville has as an NFL market, and looks for ways to work around that.
“We want to be proactive, do something about it, and be at the cutting edge of a franchise that can win games and have a great experience,” he says.
This falls in line with a business update delivered by Lamping during the team’s “State of the Franchise” last week. Lamping says Jacksonville is small, compared to other NFL markets, so they’re always looking for more revenue opportunities to supplement what they bring in locally. The team has long said it intends to continue to strengthen its foothold in the London series, because of the potential that market has to bring in revenue.
TEN THINGS TO KNOW: Jacksonville Jaguars “State of the Franchise”
“This is very consistent with the strategy that we’ve been successfully implementing over the course of the past several years, trying to find those opportunities that can result in new revenue streams that flow back to Jacksonville,” Lamping said Thursday.
“For the Jaguars, it 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,” says a statement from Khan.
Keep in mind. At last week’s SOTF, Mark Lamping told us that most of the NFL Is interested in playing a game in London. We could get to point 8 different games are played there and Jags get cut of $$ on every game because of this move. https://t.co/dVLHdb4Eo8— Brent Martineau (@BrentASJax) April 26, 2018
Lamping says the purchase of Wembley would give them access to additional revenue in the venue- like concessions- while also stopping the “sizable” annual payment the team makes to play there. Additionally, Lamping says Khan would stand to make money off other non-NFL games hosted in the Stadium each year, including English National League matches.
“Those games are the most valuable content at Wembley each and every year,” he says.
Khan sought to make it clear to the London fan base of the Jaguars and Fulham FC, which he also owns, that he will continue investing in them, as he also seeks to honor Wembley Stadium.
“As important, Wembley Stadium would return to private ownership and The Football Association would be able to focus on its core mission of developing players with the best player developers and facilities anywhere in the game, thanks in part to the vast financial benefit that would result from the transaction. I trust many if not most of you are also supporters of the England national teams, so I hope you welcome the potential of this becoming a reality. Always know Wembley would be home to the England national teams, and that we would strive every day of the year to be the best possible steward for a venue that is iconic and beloved here and throughout the world,” says a statement Khan made to Fulham FC supporters.
Following the announcement, critics immediately started questioning whether this is a step toward the team moving to London outright- something that national media outlets often speculate, but that the Jags ownership has continually denied. Khan says he doesn’t understand the speculation, adding that he has business deals around the country. He says the international ties for the Jags gives them international exposure, recognition, and sponsors, adding that the Jags even have full time staff in London to help handle those matters, and this deal would add more security to that operation.
Lamping says he understands that fans could be concerned, because they have long had to deal with these types of rumors.
“We view our London game as supplemental to what we do here in Jacksonville. You know, Jacksonville drives the Jaguars, not London,” he says.
He says Khan plans to continue investing in London and Jacksonville alike, and none of that changes with this new deal.
“We would ask that fans continue to judge us on our actions, not based on what their worst fears might be,” he says.
During the “State of the Franchise”, the Jags unveiled a new $2.5 billion redevelopment proposal for the Sports Complex, which includes upgrading the marina, new high-end hotels, office and residential space, and more.
New renderings of the Jags latest proposal for Riverfront/Lot J redevelopment. More details soon. pic.twitter.com/Ua6KWFUGRF— Stephanie Brown (@SBrownReports) April 19, 2018
The first phase of that is envisioned as the redevelopment of the “Lot J” parking lot, adding new multi-use buildings, a live arena, and a nearby parking garage to offset the loss of spaces. This is while the team continues to negotiate with the City over the redevelopment of the Jacksonville Shipyards.
While it’s unclear right now how much the team will ask the City for as part of that proposal, Lamping made it clear it’s envisioned as a public/private partnership. He says- no matter how much wealth an investor has- they’re always looking at making the right business decision, and if a plan makes financial sense to the City, it’s natural they should be a partner.
“That public investment is limited only to the level necessary to make the project possible, and that’s the approach we’re taking,” Lamping says.
Another important element for Khan is that the team historically plays well at Wembley Stadium.
“We have the energy, we have the fans there, we have a full stadium there,” he says.
Khan says they saw some of that at the tail end of last year’s successful season, but they want to make sure they can secure that overseas as well. The Jags have a deal to play a game in London each of the next few seasons, and Khan hopes the League sees the impact that has on the team and continues the agreement moving forward.
The NFL UK says this proposed deal is a sign of Khan’s continued commitment to the UK market and his vision to grow the League. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry says the team made him aware of their interest, and he sees this as a good move for the City, including building Jacksonville’s brand internationally.
Let us know on Facebook what you think about the deal:
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan is looking to buy London’s Wembley Stadium. What this means for the Jags and Jacksonville:Posted by Stephanie Brown, News 104.5 WOKV on Thursday, April 26, 2018
Statement by Mark Waller, NFL Vice-President of Events and International, on potential purchase of Wembley Stadium by Shad Kahn. pic.twitter.com/4kCyVQxXWI— NFL UK (@NFLUK) April 26, 2018
1. Shad @Jaguars previously shared their interest in Wembley with me. No surprise here. It is consistent with the business model they have shared with fans which is financial stability. Among other things, This will increase the profitability of the London game over night.— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) April 26, 2018
2. This is good for the team, Jacksonville fans, our city and downtown. The international branding of Jacksonville is real. The financial future of our team is getting stronger. Tune into the draft and get ready for some football.— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) April 26, 2018