“England must play there,” the American billionaire said. “Otherwise it will be a shell. It would be like an empty suit that doesn’t have soul.”
Khan also has an interesting idea to help smaller events at Wembley:
Another possibility, which has already been looked at by the FA, is the use of “video boards” which would be “automatically lowered on cylinders” to close the top tier of Wembley for certain events to give it a reduced 50,000-seat capacity. “There’s a lot creative stuff that can be done,” Khan said. “We are looking at all of those to get more use and create more revenue.”
For the Jaguars, who have rarely needed all the seats in their stadium, it could mean a move to London if Khan goes through with what’s being reported as an accepted $700 million bid to buy Wembley Stadium.
Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium was also built with the design to host NFL games.
So it’s possible that there could soon be two iconic soccer stadiums in London with strong NFL ties, one which was built with NFL games in mind, and another that is owned by an NFL owner. The league is pouring serious resources into London.
It seems unlikely Khan would move Fulham from Craven Cottage, but there are other repercussions of this move for soccer in England.
There’s the potential for the England national team to no longer utlizie a permanent home, and the FA Cup and League Cup both potentially requiring new or rotating venues for their final rounds.
A lot to monitor here, and we’ll surely have all the details as they emerge from Khan’s crew.
Slaviša will be given the green light to build a team capable of promotion, and that’s important, because it appears the Sky Bet Championship will be as difficult as ever.
The complete support and passion of our loyal fans will be crucial as we begin our first full season under Slaviša’s direction and take aim at promotion, and that’s why season ticket prices will not increase next season. We want and need you with us!
Fulham is in the Championship’s 21st place, nine points clear of the drop zone but 23 points off the promotion playoff pace. That’s 39 points away from the automatic promotion spots, so smart buys and plenty will be needed to improve the club for a run at the Premier League (especially with at least two sizable clubs joining the Championship next season in Aston Villa and Sunderland and/or Newcastle United).
The Cottagers, in the past sometimes described as “Fulhamerica”, have a pair of American players in Emerson Hyndman and Tim Ream, though the former is expected to move onto greener pastures in the summer. U-21 midfielder Luca de la Torre is another Yank at Craven Cottage.
Sometime earlier this decade, the death knell of Fulhamerica rang out in the American media. Gone from the English side were players like Brian McBride, Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey, and that American Player in London vibe was left to Deuce at his new digs at White Hart Lane.
Maybe the American vibe never went away, but it’s blossoming again under owner Shahid “Shad” Khan. The Pakistani businessman bought the team in 2013, and there’s been a Fulhamerica revitalization under Khan (who also owns the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League).
And the next time either of those players nets a goal for the Cottagers, you’ll see the Southern Sun beaming off their chests (in a sense, scroll down for image). Visit Florida is the new Fulham shirt sponsor, to the tune of “high six figures”.
“I love Fulham and I love Florida, so naturally it brings me a lot of satisfaction to see two of my personal passions become one,” Khan, a supporter of Gov. Rick Scott, said in a prepared statement. “One of my stated goals has long been the expansion and development of Fulham as an international brand, particularly in the U.S. Visit Florida has a great tourism and leisure story to tell in the competitive London and UK market, and I don’t think there can be a better way of communicating all Florida has to offer than through the power and following of Fulham Football Club.”
The one-year deal, which Paul Phipps, Visit Florida’s chief marketing officer, said is “high six-figures,” is expected to generate a $3 return in Florida for each $1 spent.
“We think this sport ties into a very passionate fan base, and Florida can become the destination of choice,” Phipps said. “You have to find new and different ways to communicate your brand.”
That could be worth close to $200 million to Florida in tourism, Phipps says in the article. It’s little surprise that big American dollars would look into the value of Visit Malaysia’s deal with Cardiff City and similar deals.
Whether de la Torre becomes a force for Fulham or the USMNT — he also holds a Spanish passport — the returning Fulhamerica vibe is sure to bring back warm memories for many American fans. Now can it help bring back Premier League football to Craven Cottage?