This is not a story about the Jacksonville Jaguars making the leap to London and leaving its home city high and dry. This is a story about dollars and sense.
With the news of the recent events in the UK regarding their decision to leave the European Union, the world of business is gripped as they wait to see what will happen.
The NFL is part of this equation. Because the league plays three games a year in London, you can bet Roger Goodell and the rest of the NFL offices in New York are watching the events closely.
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So is Jaguars owner Shad Khan. If there is one team affected most by the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU, it is the franchise in north Florida.
So with one eye on the inner workings of an organization in Jacksonville and the other on the mass hysteria that has begun over this historic event, Khan remains guarded and optimistic.
No NFL owner has benefitted more from playing football games at Wembley Stadium than Khan, who has signed a deal with the NFL to play one game a year overseas until at least 2020.
As Jim Piggott of news4jax.com wrote on the television station’s website, there isn’t a reason to panic – yet.
"The No. 1 impact is on the stock market, but Jacksonville has a special connection with the UK, thanks to the city actively recruiting businesses from there and Jaguars owner Shad Khan's efforts to build the team's profile in London," he wrote.
"The Jaguars will play their fourth game in London this fall, and Khan's efforts have proven successful for the team and the city."
Some could argue the recent news of a UK separation from the EU would make it monetarily easier for an NFL team to pack up and make London its new home, however there are still plenty of logistical issues that would need to be worked out.
Khan has stated many times over that he has no intention of moving his team overseas, but will continue to take advantage of the benefits from a business standpoint by making the trek across the pond each season.
Jacksonville faces the Indianapolis Colts this year. It is the first trip to Wembley Stadium for Andrew Luck and his teammates.
Jacksonville is now playing the “wait and see game” with international politics.
“That Brexit situation is going to take a couple of years to sort itself out, so there is probably going to be some uncertainty just because of the unknown.
But what happened yesterday doesn’t change in any way our commitment to play games in London,” team president Mark Lamping said Friday. “It doesn’t change in any way the fact there are three NFL games in London this year and all three of them are sold out.”
Like other worldwide businesses, the NFL plays these games as a means of not only spreading the exposure of the popular sports to a market that is used to calling soccer “football” but it is also interested in building a brand that brings more green to league pockets. Khan benefits the most and his team generates more revenue from these games.
As a man who has international ties to soccer in the UK and business dealing worldwide, he could be affected the most in a negative way. It should be noted that there have been businesses with headquarters in the UK who have opened offices in Jacksonville since the Jaguars started playing their games overseas.
The effect works both ways.
The wait and see approach is probably the best thing for Khan and the league right now. If it will take years for this separation to impact everything the NFL has worked to create, then maybe the Jaguars’ owner and Roger Goodell do not feel the effects of this historic event right away.
For now, it’s all about football. And the Jaguars and the league will continue to play their games across the pond – regardless of what political actions are taking place on foreign soil.
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