Jaguars owner Shad Khan is attempting to finalize his purchase of Wembley Stadium, England’s premier soccer stadium, and there are suggestions in the British media that he’d move the Jaguars there if he gets the deal done.
The Jaguars are already committed to playing one home game a year in London, but Khan has always insisted that he’s keeping the team in Jacksonville. However, British media outlets don’t seem to buy it.
The Financial Times writes that if Khan is able to complete the Wembley purchase, England’s Football Association “will vacate the premises over the autumn months when the Jaguars play NFL games, with Mr Khan harbouring ambitious plans to bring his US American football franchise to London.” The Daily Mail writes that “Khan made it clear that owning Wembley would ‘protect the Jaguars’ position in London’. He will need approval from the NFL to make that happen.”
But the logistics of having a team based in London may be a greater obstacle than the British media are suggesting. To name just a few issues, the NFL hasn’t figured out how it would manage the travel schedule of a team playing in London eight times a year, whether the team would also stay in London for training camp and offseason work, and how free agents could be persuaded to move to another country.
And although Khan has an agreement in principle to buy Wembley for about $800 million, it’s no lock that the deal will be approved by the Football Association’s 10-member board. That board will take a vote on Thursday, and there’s talk that they’ll deny the sale.
So while Khan might be just a day away from buying Wembley, and might have aspirations to own the first overseas NFL team, the reality is there are still big obstacles in his way. Combine all those obstacles with the fact that Jacksonville fans have been supporting the Jaguars in large numbers this year, and it seems unlikely that we’ll see the Jacksonville Jaguars become the London Jaguars any time soon.