|Billionaire Shad Khan bets on Jaguars, Fulham turnaround
Shad Khan has two rebuilding projects on his hands in the US.
He believes one can be a fixed quicker than the other.
Khan, who owns the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars and English Premier League football club Fulham, said Tuesday he has to use considerably different methods to try to stabilize the two losing clubs, AP reports.
“The NFL is a league that's built for the long haul,'' Khan said at the National Football League owners meetings. “How you think through things is very, very different. Premier League, it's like fixing a plane while it's flying. With the NFL, you can land the plane and fix it. If the NFL was the Premier League, Jacksonville would have been relegated. So there are different opportunities.''
Khan already fired two Fulham managers this season _ Martin Jol in December, Rene Meulensteen 75 days later.
If Fulham are relegated, it would cost Khan about US$60 million annually in television revenue. Fulham have seven games remaining, including four at home, and needs to make up four points to avoid relegation.
“I think there's definitely hope,'' said Khan, adding that four of the games are against teams in the bottom half of the standings.
Khan bought Fulham from Mohamed Al Fayed last July in a deal worth more than US$200 million.
Khan credited the NFL's growing presence in London with helping boost Jacksonville's exposure.
The Jaguars are generally considered the least popular NFL team in the United States. Khan bought the franchise from majority owner Wayne Weaver in November 2011 for US$770 million. Khan agreed to have the Jaguars play one game annually for four years in London, beginning last season.
“London is a very, very important thing for Jacksonville,'' said Khan, who hopes to create an “international awareness'' about Jacksonville that might prompt young people and businesses to locate there. “I think financially, exposurewise, the awareness we have as a team, it's amazing. A year ago, if you went outside the U.S. and did who was your favorite NFL team or which NFL team do you like or knew, Jacksonville was No. 31 out of 32.
“This year, the latest NFL survey outside US, we're No. 9. So in a little over a year we've had that much visibility and improvement and I think it's very, very important for the Jaguars.''
The Jaguars finished 4-12 last season, doubling their win total from 2012.
Khan believes general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley, both entering their second seasons, have the team headed in the right direction. Jacksonville has missed the playoffs 12 of the last 14 seasons, but is committed to building through the draft and supplementing in free agency.
“If you look at the teams that are successful, they're going to be built through the draft and some missing pieces are going to be filled in through free agency,'' Khan said. “I think that is the formula for success. A goal for me, we want to have a consistent winning team moving forward.''