Commentary: Khan's purchase of Wembley makes sense for him, Jaguars

Purchase price in 'neighborhood of 600M pounds'

By Cole Pepper - Sports anchor/reporter
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Shad Khan's purchase of London's historic Wembley stadium for around 600 million pounds (approx. $836 million) is a major coup for the business tycoon and has the potential to have a decent impact on the Jaguars' bottom line. But make no mistake, this was not simply a move made with the Jaguars solely in mind.

Khan's relationship with the English Football Association, the FA, dates back to 2012, just months after Khan purchased the Jaguars from Wayne Weaver. A year later, the Jaguars played a regular season game in London for the first time. It didn't take Khan and the Jaguars' brass long to realize the financial ramifications of the Jaguars playing an annual game at Wembley Stadium.

It has become such an important part of the Jaguars' financial plan that at this month's State of the Franchise address, Jaguars President Mark Lamping said the team's presence in London creates 11 percent of the club's overall revenue and that the Jaguars "have to protect our position (in London)."

One of the concerns was that another entity, perhaps a team in the Premier League, would purchase Wembley from the FA. 

"One of the things we thought about was, "what if the FA decides to sell the stadium and it goes to someone who has no interest in the NFL, or doesn't have the scheduling flexibility?' We saw that as a risk," Lamping said.

The Jaguars have played one game at Wembley for each of the past five seasons, and they will play in there again in 2018, when they face the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. 

So here's how the Jaguars benefit from this deal. First, it puts the Jaguars owner in control of the venue for their most important annual game. Second, the Jaguars will not have to pay rent for the London game, improving the annual bottom line for the London game. Khan's net worth is estimated at $7.2 billion, so a deal of this size, though substantial, should pay off rather quickly, considering that the FA expects to make around 300 million pounds from the club seats alone. There is not likely to be a cash flow issue that would limit the Jaguars' spending in free agency or the Lot J plans. 

Deals of this size do not happen overnight, but Lamping said Thursday that he expected the deal to get done in as soon as eight weeks, depending on delays caused by the World Cup. 

This huge deal is very good for Khan and the Jaguars. The question that cannot be answered now is just how good it will be for the team and the city of Jacksonville.

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