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James F. Bailey, Jr.
Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jul. 29, 201412:00 PM EST

Shad Khan's infectious smile, efforts changing city


If Shad Khan keeps up this pace, one day down the road it may be proposed our city’s name be changed to “Khanville.”

Just as Khan’s Jacksonville Jaguars opened training camp this weekend, He announced a 10-year extension with EverBank for the naming rights to the stadium.

He also unveiled the two colossal video boards in the EverBank Field end zones between a soccer match featuring his Fulham FC and a concert by Carrie Underwood.

Khan is a very likable billionaire. From a place of wealth and power, he moves around Jacksonville with a sense of grace and kindness. That big mustache hangs over his big smile, which is infectious.

When the pony-tailed Khan ordered the two world’s largest video boards be fired up Saturday, the large crowd let him know how much he’s appreciated.

His investments in the team and his high-profile, bullish promotion to boost the city’s economy have quieted a lot of those folks who expected him to move the football team to a larger market like Los Angeles.

Now, Khan has indicated he will soon unveil his plans to redevelop the Shipyards riverfront property on the Northbank.

Imagine a look into the short-term future. The Jaguars playing at a level near where their owner expects. The trip to London in November yields more discussion on economic development.

Yes, taxpayers are having to step up and pay a substantial percentage of the $63 million in improvements at EverBank, but why not? The $20 million balance was paid by Khan and the results are an economic boost that creates jobs and excitement for businesses looking to move here.

Is it too far-fetched to think we could be wearing that infectious smile before long?

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