When it comes to business acumen, Shad Khan’s is well documented. So it initially seemed strange when it was revealed that he was interested in buying a Premier League team. Earlier this year and in 2012, Khan said he “didn’t like the business model” in the EPL. “They don’t have a salary cap.”
But clearly he changed his mind and negotiated to buy Fulham, a team that’s stayed in the Premiership for the past 12 years. “Things change,” he told me after introducing the Fulham management and their captain. “They have a new television contract, they’ve gotten their sponsorship in place and it’s all about revenue. They can create revenue.” Khan believes Fulham can be a profitable club especially with some stadium improvements and expansion and whatever synergy they can create with the Jaguars of the NFL. “They’re a fan friendly club. They have a neutral stand (for fans) where you don’t have to be a supporter of the home club. They’re in the right part of the city. Their grounds are on the banks of the Thames. They’re a perfect fit for us.” Although they will operate as separate business entities, Khan believes there is plenty of opportunity for cross promotion, cross sponsorship and cross money-making.
“Every time they talk about Fulham, they’ll talk about Shad Khan, the Jaguars and Jacksonville,” said Jaguars President Mark Lamping who will also serve as a Director for Fulham. “There will be chances to for the synergy of the two clubs to come together but this does nothing but raise the profile of Jacksonville.” Khan noted that every game in the EPL will be televised and as the most popular league in the world, it’s possible that 300-million viewers could be watching Fulham play some of their games against high profile opponents like Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.
At the informal introduction of Fulham’s CEO, their Manager and the team Captain, there was real excitement in the room when the Fulham reps talked about Khan and his “custodianship” of the Cottagers. They were impressed by the facility the Jaguars have put together to practice and play games in and were genuinely excited at the prospect of playing a game at our stadium some time next year. “About this time in 2014, Fulham will play a game here,” Khan said when talking about the two cities and the two clubs. “It’s important that our EPL team was in London to raise the profile of the Jaguars in that city and internationally. The chance to enhance the revenue for both clubs is great. There’s a lot going on here (in Jacksonville) that we can take advantage of. It seems easy that the equation of two plus two can equal ten. You just have to have the right two plus two.”
When it was noted early on in Khan’s tenure as the Jaguars owner that the Weavers had “passed the baton to a faster runner,” I’m not sure anybody realized just how fast this runner was. Khan is a big thinker and is trying to drag the city and the city leadership along. When it comes to building the franchise, Khan will make that happen and raise the profile of Jacksonville internationally as well.
A few wins wouldn’t hurt either.
Get on board.