Jaguars owner Shad Khan has confirmed he is buying Wembley Stadium, England’s premier soccer field and the home of many NFL international games. But he’s positioning the move not as an attempt to take the Jaguars to London, but as an attempt to strengthen the franchise.
“The Jaguars have played regular season home games at Wembley Stadium in each of the past five NFL seasons and will continue to do so at least through the 2020 season,” Khan said in a statement. “The games the Jaguars play at Wembley are essential to the financial stability of the Jaguars in Jacksonville, which is one of the smallest markets in the NFL. If my ownership interests were to include Wembley Stadium, it would protect the Jaguars’ position in London at a time when other NFL teams are understandably becoming more interested in this great city. And the stronger the Jaguars are in London, the more stable and promising the Jaguars’ future will be in Jacksonville.”
Realistically, however, if Khan finds that playing games in London is more profitable than playing games in Jacksonville, how long will he play just one game a year in London? How soon until it’s two home games in London? Or four? Or all eight?
Those are concerns that some Jacksonville fans will have no matter how much Khan insists he’s dedicated to remaining in the city. Khan is making a big investment in London, which will remain the Jaguars’ second home. And may some day become the Jaguars’ first home.