Many have tabbed new Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan as a savvy businessman who will approach owning the Jaguars in a different manner than Wayne Weaver did. We've already seen it a bit with Khans "bravado" and the announcement that the team will change the primary uniform color and get entirely new Nike jerseys in 2013. It looks like Khan's business mind is going to work for the city of Jacksonville as well and not just for the franchise.
"There are a huge amount of decisions made in global centers like London or Hamburg, Germany," Khan said. "Jacksonville is not on their checklist or on their list of cities. They might have Miami or cities with bigger names. If a multinational company is expanding, they need to know Jacksonville is an option," Khan told the Florida-Times Union in Indianapolis on Friday. "So if we are fortunate to be playing a game, the city fathers, the development leaders need to be on the plane selling the city and meeting with some key decision makers. You can have appointments lined up."
Khan explained that Jacksonville has a great deep-water port that is underutilized and doesn't have near the activity it did in the 1980's and the 1990's when Khan would make trips to Jacksonville three times a month. He also said when the Jaguars play in Europe, he plans to fly out local economic developers to meet with foreign business leaders. "You've got to go where the decisions are being made,'' Khan told the Florida Times-Union. "The bottom line is that Jacksonville should be using the power of the NFL and let the NFL work for Jacksonville. These are key resources and assets that are not being used."
When the NFL chose Jacksonville as a site for league expansion, it was in part because of the potential growth of the market. That growth seemed to peak and then bottom out during the crash of the housing market, which his the state of Florida particularly hard. As Khan states, the ports in the city of Jacksonville are underutilized and he sounds as if he's going to do everything in his power to lend a hand in changing that. While rumors still swirl of the possibility of Khan moving the franchise, these words and plans do not sound like a man looking to uproot a franchise. They sound like the words of a man trying to plant his own roots.