JACKSONVILLE: With moves to broaden the global appeal of his National Football League team, Pakistani-born owner Shahid Khan has kicked off a new era for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The team unveiled new logos, tweaking the animal-head design the team has used since 1995, and announced plans to become the first NFL club to make local sponsorship deals in England ahead of playing a home game in London this year.
The Jaguars will play last Sunday's Super Bowl losers, the San Francisco 49ers, at London's Wembley Stadium on October 27. The NFL will also have the Minnesota Vikings meet the Pittsburgh Steelers in London on September 29.
Rebranding the Jaguars' organization is part of helping the team bounce back after going 2-14 last season, matching Kansas City for the worst record in the 32-team league.
Khan, a billionaire businessman who built an auto parts empire after coming to the United States, has named David Caldwell the team's new general manager and Gus Bradley as the club's new coach.
“We now in my opinion have the ideal franchise model with incredible leadership on both sides – the business side and the football side,” Khan said. “We have a game plan for success. I am confident the victories will come.
“I also feel this really is a critical time to harness momentum under a strong brand promise to ourselves, our fans and the people who serve.”
The fiercer feline facial logo is part of that idea, Khan said of what he described as “a cool cat.”
“A brand platform like this is important for a sports franchise,” Khan said. “Many players and coaches will represent the team and city over time. You want them to respect the philosophy that was in place before they arrived and that will be in place after they leave. You want your fans to share the same vision.
“Nothing brings a sports team to life like a team logo.”
The Jaguars will receive a financial boost from the London game, with ticket prices 44 percent above those charged in Jacksonville and more seats than the Jaguars' home stadium with a full-time sales executive in London soon to be hired by the club.
Last August, just seven months after his purchase of the club was completed, Khan committed the Jaguars to playing one home game a year in London for the next four seasons in a bid to raise the club's global profile.
“The Jacksonville Jaguars will be a bold and ambitious NFL franchise,” Khan said. “It will give the Jaguars a unique and powerful identity within the league and beyond.”