Shahid Khan, the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham, insists that he has “no plans” to move his NFL franchise to London despite a widespread assumption that the Jaguars will be the team that eventually fulfils the league’s plan to base a team at Wembley.
Instead, Khan wants the Jaguars – who play the second game of a four-year Wembley “residency” against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday evening – to continue to build their following here and be every British fan’s second team, an aim he shares for Fulham beyond their own fanbase.
“Put two and two together, you’re welcome. Speculate away – but we have no plans to move at this time,” he said. “The Dallas Cowboys are ‘America’s Team’ but they play in Dallas. Why can’t we be the London Jaguars based out of Jacksonville? The Jaguars are the smallest [NFL] club and we needed more fans. Going overseas has been a win-win. There is demand for NFL football here and we can help with that.”
Building loyalty to a team more than 4,000 miles away requires a longer-term presence here, and Khan admits he could extend the annual visits beyond 2016: “It’s something we’re going to look at in a couple of years. It’s in the realm of possibility, but nothing’s decided.”