London intrigues the NFL.
In the international growth plans of the National Football League, it didn’t seem that the league was too interested in making Wembley Stadium in London a permanent home. The league signed a deal to play at least two games a year in the new Tottenham stadium and even threw some money into the construction of the facility. Then came Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan’s bid to takeover Wembley Stadium. Khan withdrew the bid although he could revisit the idea of buying the stadium in the future. Presumably the Tottenham stadium will eventually open when safety issues are repaired and the National Football League will send teams including Khan’s Jaguars to London, England to play in that stadium.
There were rumors that Khan was trying to figure out a way to move half of his Jacksonville home schedule to London had he been able to buy Wembley. Khan has a lease having his football team play in Jacksonville’s municipal stadium through 2030. Khan seems to have something of a commitment to Jacksonville in addition to running his football business in town. Khan would like to build an entertainment zone next to the football stadium and build a convention center and hotel in Jacksonville. It would be part of a stadium village complex. For now, that plan is being scrutinized by Jacksonville officials. The NFL is planning to put a franchise permanently in London in the next decade but sometimes plans don’t pan out. Ask the retired National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern about establishing an NBA division in Europe by 2010. Stern wanted to see it happen but Europe did not have enough North American style arenas to make the venture work. The NBA does play an annual game in London. Major League Baseball is going to London for games in 2019. Making North American sports work in London is somewhat difficult.