New Jaguars owner Shahid Khan doesn't just want to make his team an NFL force, he wants to put Jacksonville -- and his franchise -- on the international map.
"Iâm in training to be Jacksonvilleâs No. 1 salesperson," Khan told a crowd of 1,000 at the JAXUSA Partnership luncheon on Friday in the city, according to The Florida Times-Union.
Khan, the owner of an Illinois-based international auto parts manufacturing company Flex-N-Gate, is fully on board with with Jacksonville's business leaders parlaying his global connections into more attention and jobs from international companies, and the newspaper said his ideas include flying a regional delegation to London if the Jaguars play a game in England. He also plans to host international executives in Jacksonville for football games so they can experience the city.
He thinks it will also grow the Jaguars' brand, especially after traveling to Japan, England and Germany on business last week and handing out Jaguars' jerseys only to be asked, "Where is Jacksonville?"
"The NFL is going to be developing an international fan base. Why shouldn't it be the Jaguars?" Khan said in December. "In all honesty, internationally, they don't know the difference between the Jaguars and the Steelers."
Jacksonville officials are all in on Khanâs goals, said Jerry Mallot, president of JAXUSA Partnership, the regional economic development division of the chamber of commerce.
"That is a great help because we constantly fight the battle of where is Jacksonville or who is Jacksonville when weâre in other countries, whether itâs Europe or Asia," Mallot told the newspaper.
Joining the NFLâs rotation of teams that play in Londonâs Wembley Stadium could be difficult. The NFL said last month that the St. Louis Rams will be one of the teams in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The New England Patriots will play them this year, leaving openings for one team in 2013 and 2014.
"To me, we have to try,â Khan told the newspaper. "Weâre playing catch-up but weâre going to give it our best, and Iâm optimistic."
The NFL has also considered scheduling more than one game each year abroad, which Khan supports.
Khan, born in Pakistan, bought the franchise for $760 million from original owner Wayne Weaver last year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.