Jaguars owner to take Wembley purchase bid and go home because England doesn’t love him enough

Whoops, turns out Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan isn’t buying Wembley Stadium after all, withdrawing his bid because, uh, it was probably going to get rejected anyway:

A senior FA source told BBC Sport that the board believed the odds were slightly against the purchase being backed, given the strong objections of some councillors to the home of English football being sold off.

FA chief executive [Martin] Glenn said Khan had believed his offer “would be well received by all football stakeholders”.

However, Glenn added: “At a recent meeting with Mr Khan he expressed to us that, without stronger support from within the game, his offer is being seen as more divisive than it was anticipated to be and he has decided to withdraw his proposal.”

This will likely put an end to talk of the Jaguars relocating to London, though 1) that was probably a dumb idea to begin with and 2) there’s nothing stopping Khan from still moving to London if he really wants, and just paying rent on a stadium instead of buying one.

Anyway, apparently not everything is for sale at the right price, at least in the UK. You can still buy Utah if you want, though.

8 comments on “Jaguars owner to take Wembley purchase bid and go home because England doesn’t love him enough

  1. Mining interests also managed to finagle a land swap in the Tonto National Forest of Arizona that puts at risk Oak Flat, which had been a protected area sacred to the San Carlos Apaches. Your public lands are now being sold to the highest bidder, folks. Wake up.

  2. The Jags could play at Khan’s 27,000 seat Fulham stadium. Then change their name to the LA Chargers of London.

  3. Might be a blessing in disguise. The NFL had at least 5k empty seats at the last Wembley game and local TV ratings have dipped 10%. A London survey ranked the game only less boring than golf. Moving the Jags will turn out only slightly more successful than the Chargers move.

    • I agree Steven, but it’s not like the Jags are playing to SRO crowds in Jacksonville either.

      It sounds like Khan isn’t presently thinking about being the owner who takes the plunge and moves overseas… but of the existing small market owners, he’d be one of the leading candidates to be that guy.

      If you were owner of the Jags and had the option to move to London, wouldn’t you seriously consider it? Even if it is a short term money loser, the upside 20 years down the road has to be better than Jacksonville (or wherever the Jags might be in the continental US in 20 years).

    • If you’re referring to the Raiders-Seahawks game in Wembley, there’s far more to that than lack of interest. That entire situation was a cluster. The game was supposed to be at Tottenham’s new grounds, but because of constant construction delays, they kept holding off on selling tickets, and then had to move it only a month or two ago. I know because my wife and I were planning to fly to London for the game, but eventually had to make other vacation plans because we couldn’t commit due to the uncertainty of tickets, prices, airfare etc. Had tickets gone on sale in April along with the other London NFL games, I suspect it would have sold out, or at least come closer.

  4. “… just paying rent on a stadium instead of buying one….”

    I guess that’s true, but very few NFL owners are interested in paying rent OR buying/building a stadium. It’s just better if you can get someone else to do that, especially if it isn’t your direct customers paying as that might draw money away that you could otherwise charge for tickets.

    It was surprising to me to hear Khan had made an offer for the facility, albeit one for around 1/3rd of the construction cost. Why would he want to own a stadium unless he planned to move Fulham and/or the Jags there? It’s not like he was going to get to keep all revenues from other events (hospitality/club revenue stayed with the FA, other properties can and will bid for alternate events…) at the facility.

    I’m not sure we can gauge the NFL’s true appeal in other countries based on one off neutral site games each year. You might be a rabid Steelers fan… but if Tampa and Carolina were playing a neutral site game at Heinz field, would you go?

    If the NFL really wants to know what it’s market is in London, Tokyo or Mexico City, it is likely going to have to bite the bullet and move (or create) a team in one or more of those locations. The reason the Bills in Toronto failed wasn’t just because the Bills were pretty bad… it was because the fans can’t buy in to a team that is just in town visiting for a week.