Jacksonville Jaguars Sell Franchise to Shahid Khan

November 30, 2011

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver has reached an agreement to sell the franchise to Shahid Khan, a successful Illinois businessman.

The transaction is subject to the approval of the National Football League and the team owners. Financial details are yet to be disclosed.

Weaver said in making the announcement: “Shahid Khan is a great American success story and he will be an outstanding owner for this franchise and for this community. I am excited for the team and for our great fans because Shahid will bring passion and commitment to the job. He is committed to restoring a winning tradition here in Jacksonville.”

“I am honored to have recently signed an agreement with Wayne Weaver and his partners to purchase the Jacksonville Jaguars,” Khan said. “I have known Wayne for some time and have long admired his spirit, which nearly 20 years ago – against all odds – helped make the Jaguars and the National Football League a reality for Jacksonville and North Florida.  Wayne’s legacy will be lasting, and I will always be grateful for Wayne’s trust and confidence in my commitment to the Jaguars, the NFL and the people of the Jacksonville community.”

In 1967, at the age of 16, Khan left his native Pakistan to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He began working for Flex-N-Gate Corporation in 1970, while still an engineering student.  Following his graduation from the University of Illinois in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, Mr. Khan continued to work at Flex-N-Gate until 1978, when he left the company to start a new venture.

Helped by a Small Business Administration loan, he began a new business designing and manufacturing innovative lightweight, continuous metal bumper systems, with no seams to corrode or rust.  Today, nearly two-thirds of all North American pick-up trucks and sport utilities have bumper systems based on Khan’s designs and are manufactured and supplied by a Flex-N-Gate company.

Khan purchased the original Flex-N-Gate company in 1980.  Since then, the Flex‑N‑Gate Group has been consistently profitable while enjoying impressive growth under his active ownership and guidance.  The Flex-N-Gate Group today employs more than 10,000 associates at 48 manufacturing plants in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Spain and Argentina, with annual sales exceeding $3 billion.

“Owning a team in the National Football League has long been my personal and professional goal,” Khan said. “Becoming the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars would be a dream come true for me and my family but, above all, would be a privilege.  To that end, I would like to thank Commissioner Roger Goodell and members of his team for their counsel and guidance throughout my efforts over the past several years.

In 2010 Khan tried to buy the St Louis Rams but was denied when Rams owner Stan Kroenke bought the rest of the shares.

He added: “I am now looking forward to the review process in accordance with league policy.  If the proposed transaction is approved in the weeks ahead, I will responsibly and enthusiastically serve the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars and their great fans, and I will be fully committed to delivering Jacksonville its first Super Bowl championship.  This is a franchise with tons of potential, playing in a community that is passionate about football and loves to win.  I can’t think of a better place to be.”

Lou Imbriano, iSportconnect Board member and former Chief Marketing Officer of the New England Patriots has analysed what lies in wait for Shahid Khan when he takes over the team.

“The biggest problem is that the product is so volatile, unlike in other businesses. Typically the standards and quality of the product are easily obtainable in other industries, but in sport the product (on field performance) is always influx and because of that lacks full control on results, ” he said.

“Because of the uncertainty with wins and losses the business side must be structured in a way to be able to minimize the effect of losses and maximize the potential for growth. Many teams worldwide lack the business structure necessary to accomplish these principles, mostly because they rely on wins and losses and that’s a bad strategic plan.

“Also, new owners often get caught up in the excitement of the industry they are now are in, remember most are also fans, and because of this approach the ownership differently then they would there other businesses. There is a learning curve that comes with any new venture, so the best thing any new owner can do is to hire business people with proven track record and experience to aid them in this ramp up period to get up to speed and to help implement the correct structure.

“The pitfalls to this is that there are many sports business executives that have years of experience, but have not made significant impact to the growth of the franchises they have worked for. Selection of the right executive to lead can be tricky and deep understanding of the candidates and the strategy they created and executed is of extreme importance. It is also important to note that just because someone is a fan of the game, doesn’t mean they know what it takes to coach or run a team.”

To read more of what Lou Imbriano thinks of Khan’s acqusition and air your own views on the subject click here