Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan has said he wants the UK to always be part of the team’s identity and said the London team “is just getting started”.
A decade after becoming the first – and so far only – NFL team to commit to multi-year regular-season play across the Atlantic, the Jags are gearing up for their ninth meeting in the capital.
Doug Pederson’s men host the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon at Wembley – a venue Khan considers “home” and which he previously attempted to purchase from the Football Association.
The Jags owner said their first game under the arch since 2019 “is going to be special” for a side which earlier this year pledged to play at Wembley every season until 2024.
“Our goal is that London and the UK will always be part of the Jacksonville Jaguars identity,” Khan told the PA news agency. “It’s not new.
“We never wanted London to be an experiment. We have been committed to making London our home away from home from the moment we made a four-year commitment which began in 2013.
“We have renewed twice and now we are back at Wembley, which also plays a major role in our international profile.
“The teams that appear in London are ultimately league dependent, but we have been clear in our commitment to play a home game in London every year.
“Despite all the progress we’ve made in growing our brand and our fanbase, it’s only been 10 years. We are just getting started.
Khan owns Premier League side Fulham as well as the Jags and has always been impressed, but not surprised, by the home support.
Such support, he says, will result this weekend in league records for attendance and gross ticket revenue for an NFL game in the capital after the team assumes operational responsibility.
“London has always been exceptionally supportive of the Jaguars,” Khan said. “It really comes to life on a whole new level this year at Wembley.”
Sunday will be a taste of Wembley for many Jags players and Khan says it won’t take them long to realize once out of the tunnel on match day why they keep coming back.
Outside linebacker Josh Allen is among those who have played under the arch before and is delighted to be back in London, having played at Wembley in 2019 and winning in the capital last year.
“As a team, we’re always excited to go there,” Allen told PA a year after ending a 20-game losing streak by beating the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“Last year we won a big game and it was an exciting moment for us and the fans. I think it’s going to be a great game. We’re delighted.
“We are delighted with this game, not only to be in London, but also to play against this team there.”
The Jags are hoping for a big win after returning to London with a bang on Thursday night, when Noel Gallagher performed on Khan’s super yacht Kismet at his annual Thursday night party.
“We started this journey 10 years ago and it has been incredibly successful,” Khan added. “Enriching and rewarding.
“The advantage of our local revenue stream has been crucial, but over this time we have created a fanbase that continues to grow in number and passion for the team.
“We have business partners based in the UK. We have full-time, fully committed staff in London who work hard to ensure Jaguars are part of the overall sporting landscape in the UK.
“We are the London (NFL) team, but not just because we say we are. It is thanks to the commitment of many people, including our fans in the UK and across Europe, to make this happen.