Posted by Uncle Rico 5:16 PM ET
As expected, NFL owners unanimously approved the sale of the Jacksonville Jaguars to Shahid Khan. Kahn’s story is remarkable. He left his hometown of Lahore, Pakistan in 1967 at the age of 17 to study industrial engineering at the University of Illinois. While a student, Kahn started working at Flex-N-Gate, an auto parts manufacturer based in Urbana, IL. He continued to work at Flex-N-Gate until 1978 when he left the company to open his own shop with a focus on producing a uniquely designed one-piece bumper that had no seams to rust. Two years later, Kahn acquired Flex-N-Gate and ultimately grew the privately held company into a business with more than $3 billion in revenue, 12,450 employees and 48 plants in the United States and abroad.
Kahn has dreamed of owning an NFL team for some time. Now that he has realized such dream, the formula for success as an NFL owner may be shockingly simple: direct Jaguars general manager Gene Smith to trade for Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. Bringing the former Florida Gators star home would instantly make Kahn a hero in Jacksonville and result in unprecedented ticket and merchandise sales.
Kahn acquired a franchise that is severely depressed. In 2005, the Jaguars permanently covered up almost 10,000 seats at Everbank Field in an effort to avoid local television blackouts and the embarrassment of a substantially empty stadium. Jacksonville has a record of 21 – 38 since losing to New England in the 2008 divisional playoffs, the team’s last trip to the postseason. Head coach Jack Del Rio was recently fired and the Jaguars were blown out 41 – 14 at Atlanta last night in a game that was televised nationally. Today, ProFootballTalk.com’s Michael David Smith wondered whether the Jaguars would be forced to use the team’s first round draft pick on a quarterback only a year after selecting Blaine Gabbert 10th overall.
Meanwhile, despite the continued criticism of his ability and skill by NFL analysts and players, Tim Tebow has lead the Broncos to six consecutive wins and a 7 – 1 record since taking over as the starter from Kyle Orton. But, Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway is clearly not a believer in Tebow as a the franchise’s future. So, while many people would consider trading Tebow sacrilegious (not to mention a bad football decision), Elway is without a doubt open to moving on from Tebow. Especially if it means acquiring the additional draft picks required to trade up in this year’s draft to take Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley or Robert Griffin III. Or perhaps Elway thinks Gabbert has the physical characteristics and mental makeup that the Broncos legend can devlop into the quarterback of his team. Either way, Elway would seemingly welcome an easy way out of having to commit to Tebow for the long term.
Tebow’s impact on the value of the Jaguars franchise has the potential to be significant. Applying a multiple of seven to nine time cash flow in valuing an NFL franchise, the Tebow effect would only need to contribute an additional $12.5 million to annual cash flow to add $100 million to the team’s overall value. Forbes reported that Kahn paid $760 million for the team. So, if Tebow could add $12.5 million in revenues – a figure that seems reasonable if not low given that Tebow has transcended sports and is now in the same stratosphere as celebrities Lady Gaga and George Clooney – in his first year in Jacksonville then Kahn will have increased the value of the franchise by 13% in only one year. The prospect of creating that level of gain in such a short time period of time with one transaction has to excite a smart busineesman like Kahn and will be the force that brings Tim Tebow back to Jacksonville.