It was announced today that the NFL has approved the Jacksonville Jaguars to play 4 home games in London, 1 per year starting in 2013. This whole situation will be let out of the bag at a formal announcement on Tuesday, but for all intents and purposes, it’s a done deal.
And it’s only the beginning. Jaguars owner Shahid Kahn is a not a “sit around and do nothing” kind of guy. In fact if we’ve seen anything he’s very savy in terms of business and aggressive when he needs to be. Which means that while 4 games in London is a nice start, there’s no reason to believe it’s the end.
Some have speculated that if(more like when) the Jaguars get a boost in fan support by playing in London, Kahn is going to expand further. Kahn was born in Pakistan, and has commented publicly that he was amazed at the level of popularity IPL soccer had in Pakistan, and while he didn’t come right out and say it, Kahn has seen how fandom sparked for soccer, why not try the most popular sport in America and 2nd only to soccer worldwide? Kahn has intimated that he thinks that future for the NFL is as an international sport, so why not let the Jaguars be the one that leads the charge. Are other teams going to see this and follow suit? There are plenty of bad teams out there in need of a spark.
And let’s not rule out the real possibility that Kahn is looking at this as part of a 4 year plan to boost this team up to a point that they become more viable to move to Los Angeles. There was a point when Kahn first purchased the Jaguars in January of 2012 for $760 million some believed he was doing it only to move them to LA, but I think he realized it was not as simple as first surmised. Honestly, I think considering all that Kahn has done for the Jaguars, his plan is to keep it’s base in Florida but expand it’s scope a great deal.
Regardless of whether Kahn’s long term goal is to have this team playing in Los Angeles, or Malaysia, I see big changes on the horizon for the Jaguars. They have a young quarterback who appears to be coming out of his shell and is ready to play, and when you have a high level of quarterback play, it seems like everything else will begin to fall into place. Stay tuned for more news on the Jaguars. Only in the NFL can one of the worst teams in the league be at the top of the headlines.
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