News broke on Wednesday that Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan was in advanced talks to take over as the owner of English Premier League club Fulham, which is located in London. As soon as the story broke, you could hear the cackles of the likes of Jason LaCanfora and Mike Florio, among other knuckle dragging scribes furiously typing away their "Jaguars case for London" or ignorantly ironic "London Calling!" headlines.
When you really examine Khan purchasing a London-based soccer team however, you come away with the case that it actually strengthens the Jaguars presence in Jacksonville more-so than it looks to weaken it. The easy claim is that Khan has no roots in Jacksonville, despite massive mounds of evidence to the contrary, and by purchasing Fulham he's preparing to setup shop in London.
Shad Khan buying Fulham is good for the Jaguars and the city of Jacksonville, however.
First and foremost, if Khan does indeed purchase Fulham, think of the massive injection of London based Jaguars fans he likely gains by simple association. Fulham supporters will immediately research Khan and what he's about and likely begin to research and pay attention to the Jaguars. On the flip side, he'll also begin to pull in a legion of American fans who will likely begin paying attention to Fulham.
In one swoop he's strengthened his fan base for each franchise globally, which is something he's stated he wanted to accomplish with the Jaguars since the beginning.
Not only does Khan accomplish that to a degree, but he can then simply by association help Jacksonville gain a foothold on soccer, which groups like the Sunshine Soccer Group are trying to accomplish, bringing in international friendlies and potentially a North American Soccer League (NASL) franchise to town.
If Khan does purchase Fulham, he can bring them to Jacksonville for summer friendlies and international friendlies, playing an MLS franchise, team's from South America, or even other English Premier League teams who sometimes do summer friendly tours. They can all play in EverBank Field, under the brand new massive scoreboards that Khan is helping fund. Jacksonville is trying to become a hub to host big-time friendly matches, as they've shown they can pack the house for things like United States Men's National Team friendlies and events such as MLS pre-season games, etc.
Having the owner of the NFL franchise that uses that facility also own an English Premier League club boosts that credibility and will have some weight in bringing those kinds of premier events to Jacksonville, which in turn helps the city grow. This could also lead to things further down the line, such as the potential of a Jacksonville NASL team making the leap to the MLS as some teams have done in the past, with Khan having a hand in the ownership if he desired.
Photo credit: Scott Heavey
Then you have to consider the potential revenue stream that can be opened, on both ends, from owning a team in London and a team in Jacksonville. Due to the four-game London series, the Jaguars have some exclusive marketing and advertising rights in England that hasn't been presented to teams in the past, as sort of a "reward" for agreeing to give up the four home games.
Khan could turn around and combo-sell advertising dollars for both Fulham and the Jaguars.
You want to sponsor and advertise for Fulham?
Well guess what?
You can also advertise in America's greatest sports league too! Those giant scoreboards are going to need advertisers splattered all over them for the events the could potentially host.
Khan has stated from the beginning that he wants to make the Jaguars an international brand, which many have ignorantly translated to meaning he wants to relocate the franchise to London. Without going through all the evidence that shows that's not the case at all, doing something like also owning a longstanding mid-table EPL club is a great method to accomplish that if he cross promotes the two franchises.
Khan buying Fulham is good for the Jaguars and the city of Jacksonville.