Over his career before and as the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Shad Khan hasn’t been impressed by talk. Action and results are what he’s looking for and gives his employees the tools to be successful. That’s why this week at the NFL Meetings in Boca Raton, Khan heard the positive talk about the Jaguars arrow “pointing up” but was quick to point out: “We haven’t won a game yet.”
Much of the amazement from those around the league is their perception of the patience Khan has shown in the three years with Dave Caldwell as the GM and Gus Bradley as head coach. Khan doesn’t see it as being patient. He sees a process.
“To me, I can see the big picture being close to it,” he explained. “We want to make sure we’re communicating to the fans that they understand what’s going on. They look at it regrettably that it’s something we’ve got to go through to help something that’s sustainable and winning for the long-term.”
Now in his fifth year as an owner in the league, Khan has studied the culture of the NFL and is an active participant in shaping the leagu’es image and future.
“You know the people, you know the agenda and I know what the Jaguars, what we need to do and where we can contribute. So definitely. It’s different in a good way,” he said of his learning process since buying the Jaguars
“This is very much a democratic organization. If your voice is not being heard, it’s up to you. That’s never been an issue for the Jaguars or any other team.”
One place where Khan has led the way is the league’s international expansion. A renewed commitment to London was important to the Jaguars according to Khan, to continue the sustainability in Jacksonville. While he doesn’t expect the Jaguars to be involved in some of the other International series games, he does find it a bit amusing that after his success in London, other teams are lining up. Even the Steelers are looking to play a home game in Mexico.
“Well I think for us, we’ve got a commitment in London. Certainly, I’m delighted. I think it’s the right thing to do,” the Jaguars owner noted. ‘I find this refreshing that this time, three years ago when we were talking about London, it seemed like a crazy idea. Now playing in Mexico, China and Brazil, all of those are very real possibilities. I think it’s great for the league.”
Nearly one-fifth of the Jaguars revenue is derived from their game in London including ticket sales and sponsorships. So its no surprise Khan has staked a claim to the UK’s biggest city.
“Our commitment is London for many, many reasons and I think they’ve been articulated before to supplement what we’re doing in Jacksonville. What’s interesting is there are a lot of volunteers now to play these games which I think is really healthy and awesome. There’s a huge amount of interest.”
Although the Jaguars commitment to London is to play as the home team, don’t be surprised if the team stays either in London or somewhere in Europe in the coming years to play as the visitor. Since they’re already there, staying and playing a second game makes sense. This year’s game is October 2nd against the Colts, the first time the Jaguars will host a division game at Wembley. Next year Khan and Texans owner Bob McNair would like to see their two teams tangle overseas. Revealing that the plans for the South End Zone Amphitheater and practice facility are now finalized, Khan expects construction to begin soon. He said bids are out and a contractor should be selected in the next few days. While he’s looking at completing the project quickly, he added he’s not sure it’ll be finished before the 2016 football season but will be done in stages so the contractor will be able to work on it during the season without disrupting the stadium.
One project that will be done is the revamping of the two club sections. With the new contract in place for the Florida/Georgia game, Khan noted that they’d be tailored to each team.
“You’ll find it interesting that these clubs, that really resonated with Florida and Georgia. How the clubs are done, we’re going to team one for one team and the other one – it’s basically a lot of electronic. A lot of it is you basically hit a switch and they get differentiated areas, premium areas for some of their big supporters.”
While the proposed Shipyards project is still on the drawing board pending the environmental and land changes that need to be fixed, the Jaguars owner said there’s land both east and west of the Shipyards that he’ll be concentrating on while the other is sorted out.
Either way, his mantra of “Moving Forward” stays in place.
“Everything we’re doing at the stadium, we’re looking at it from a Jaguars viewpoint but also Jacksonville. I think that’s very important that we get more events to the city and football, as well as sports, could be one of the engines of growth – economic growth.”