JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS OWNER SHAHID KHAN SAYS THE NFL IS “ONE OF THE FEW THINGS THAT IS FUN AND PROFIT” – ON “CBS THIS MORNING”
KHAN TELLS CHARLIE ROSE, NORAH O’DONNELL AND GAYLE KING: “YOU KNOW IT’S A BUSINESS, BUT IT’S A CIVIC ASSET, AND WE WILL BE GOOD STEWARDS OF IT”
Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, said today that the business model of football makes it “one of the few things that is fun” and profitable, in an interview that was broadcast live today, April 2, 2013 on CBS THIS MORNING on the CBS Television Network (7:00 AM-9:00 AM).
Even a losing team, Kahn said, will make money. “Well, you’re not going to make a lot of money,” Kahn said. “But if you’re losing and you’re running the business properly, you will be solvent.”
Khan also discussed the harsh criticism that he received when he initially bought the team, telling co-hosts Charlie Rose, Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King that in spite of it, the team is “a civic asset, and we will be good stewards of it.”
Excerpts from the interview are below.
ROSE: Shahid Khan may be the ultimate American success story. He was a teenager from Pakistan who immigrated to the United States. He earned a college degree and then he reinvented the car bumper and he turned his business into a multibillion-dollar empire. Khan then topped his remarkable story in 2011 when he bought the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Shahid Khan joins us now. We’re pleased to have you. What did you – when you came to this country, what was your ambition?
KHAN: Charlie, my ambition was to get an education and try to live the American dream.
KING: But, from Pakistan, where the game is cricket, and you think, “you know what I’ll do now, I’ll buy a football team.” What was it about football that attracted you?
KHAN: I developed a passion and love for the sport. Obviously I’m not gifted enough to play the sport, so the closest involvement you could have would be as an owner for me. So for years before it happened, you know, I did a lot of cold calling to owners in the league, trying to learn the business, and then the opportunity came.
ROSE: Can you do for the Jaguars what you did for car bumpers?
KHAN: That’s my goal. For the Jacksonville Jaguars, that’s what I want to do.
ROSE: How are you going to do it?
KHAN: One piece at a time. One step at a time. I think the first thing is you have to relate to the fans. You have to really – they have to re-embrace us.
ROSE: Are you looking for any famous quarterbacks?
KHAN: We all are. We all are, yes.
O’DONNELL: But why an NFL team, and is it good business? Is it profitable?
KHAN: NFL is a great business. I think that it’s probably one of the few things that is fun and profit. So if you like football, it’s got a great business model.
ROSE: Even if you’re losing?
KHAN: Even if you’re losing – you know, it’s – the competitive balance in the league is unprecedented in the world. The NFL really defines that. Where you could be horrible one year and competitive the next year. The elements of a hard salary cap, the draft, scheduling, those all really come into it.
ROSE: My question is if you’re losing, are you still making a lot of money?
KHAN: Well, you’re not going to make a lot of money. But if you’re losing and you’re running the business properly, you will be solvent.
KING: You are the first Muslim Pakistani owner in the NFL, and not everybody was thrilled in Jacksonville at first. There was some unflattering, unkind things said about you in the beginning. How did you handle that, and how do you look on that today?
KHAN: The way I look at it, first of all, I mean, people didn’t know me. And I had to really recognize that football is about passion. You have fans who have been passionate – it’s their team and all of a sudden they have a Pakistani Muslim guy. That’s very unnerving. So I thought, you know, I really need to introduce myself, let them get to know me. And there were still some people who were unhappy and it was, like, it’s your problem now, it’s not mine. And really, this is a family business. So I think it was important that – there were a lot of people in Jacksonville who thought my wife was probably Pakistani in a full burka. So it was important that they meet her, they meet our children and they know this is a civic asset. You know, it’s a business, but it’s a civic asset, and we will be good stewards of it.
Click here to watch the clip.
<embed src="http://cnettv.cnet.com/av/video/cbsnews/atlantis2/cbsnews_player_embed.swf" scale="noscale" salign="lt" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" background="#333333" width="425" height="279" allowFullScreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" FlashVars="si=254&&contentValue=50144058&shareUrl=http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50144058n" />
Chris Licht is the Vice President of Programming, CBS News, and Executive Producer of CBS THIS MORNING.
* * *
Press Contact: Weesie Vieira 212-975-2856 VieiraW@CBSNews.com