JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The impact of the United Kingdom pullout from the European Union is reaching across the pond to Jacksonville.
The No. 1 impact is on the stock market, but Jacksonville has a special connection with the UK, thanks to the city actively recruiting businesses from there and Jaguars owner Shad Khan's efforts to build the team's profile in London.
The Jaguars will play their fourth game in London this fall, and Khan's efforts have proven successful for the team and the city.
The team has a contract to continue playing a home game in London through the 2020 season.
“That Brexit situation is going to take a couple of years to sort itself out, so there is probably going to be some uncertainty just because of the unknown. But what happened yesterday doesn’t change in any way our commitment to play games in London,” team president Mark Lamping said Friday. “It doesn’t change in any way the fact there are three NFL games in London this year and all three of them are sold out. So we’ll be following it just like everybody else, but this isn’t something that all of the sudden from one day to the next you are going to see a major change. It’s going to take a couple of years to sort this out.”
For now, everyone seems to be taking a wait-and-see approach.
“It goes back to us just stepping back, taking a deep breath, and understanding how we move forward and get back on track,” said Daniel Davis, president and CEO of Jax Chamber. “I don't see any problem getting off track with the companies we have brought to Jacksonville. (We) look forward to the relationships that we're growing.”
Several businesses with ties to the United Kingdom have opened up offices in Jacksonville over the last year, among them Resource Solutions and City Refrigeration.
The HCI Group, based in Jacksonville, has been operating in London for years, and apparently more businesses with British ties are in the works to come to the River City.
“We just had one of our employees come back yesterday from London. We have one leaving to go tomorrow to help continue to grow those relationships, so our citizens need to know that Jacksonville is working hard to build those relationships,” Davis said.
The local companies chose not to comment yet about what “Brexit” could mean for them.