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Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, pictured at the Leaders in Football conference on Wednesday 10th October

answer, delivered in Khan’s softly spoken, considered style, is simple and should really come as no surprise. Opportunity knocked. “I think you know my story,” he says. “I was born in Pakistan, I came to the US and so it was not a sport that I grew up with but it’s a sport I discovered and obviously love and am passionate about. You get to a stage in life; there’s only 32 clubs, they don’t sell very often – that means you have to be ready when the opportunity comes. I got the opportunity, had the ability to do it and loved the sport. “I also think it’s a great business – it’s profitable where you have the means to invest, whether it’s a new stadium, a new fan experience, which I think is important. I have two kids; this will be a family business and it will pass on to them and hopefully be a multi-generational business for years to come.” Khan is speaking just a couple of hours after touching down in London, along with a healthy entourage of Jaguars staffers including president Mark Lamping, for what will be the first of several visits to London over the coming months ahead of the team’s UK debut next autumn. Part promotional visit, part networking opportunity, it is a whistle-stop tour including a keynote speech the following morning at the Leaders summit at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge, interviews with various UK media outlets, a reception with UK business leaders on behalf of the Jaguars and the city of Jacksonville, meetings with the likes of London & Partners, the city’s major events promotional organisation, and, naturally enough, a trip to Wembley to watch England’s soccer team play San Marino in a World Cup qualifier. Khan is clearly a firm believer in the Jaguars’ voyage of international discovery, but not exclusively from an international growth perspective. The potential promotional benefits it may yield for the city of Jacksonville, where Khan says his first year has been “very warm and wonderful and welcoming”, are equally important to him. “It’s about getting exposure for Jacksonville,” he confirms. “It’s a smaller community – about a million British [people] travel to Florida

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Home and away  

Shahid Khan is the NFL’s first foreign-born owner and the first to fully embrace the league’s international strategy for growth. As the Jack...