Though it remains to be seen whether enough tickets will be sold to allow more than one of the team’s home games to be televised in 2010, the Jacksonville Jaguars have had a good week, as it relates to the generation of revenue.
First came a naming-rights deal with EverBank, which will crank out $3.32 million in additional cash per year for each of the next five.
The team also has unveiled a scratch-off lottery game, which will help raise even more money via what many regard as a voluntary tax on the poor. (Hey, it’s a free country — and our freedoms include the right to piss away what little money we have, and on the other side of the coin to willingly and happily take it.)
Also, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida has purchased the sponsorship of the team’s practice fields, a deal that likely will include the placement on the team’s practice jerseys of a patch with the company’s logo.
As we discussed — at times in spirited fashion — with our good friend Mike Dempsey of 1010XL in Jacksonville on Wednesday afternoon, none of these developments will sell out the stadium. But, as Dempsey pointed out, the momentum from these off-field developments has created a positive buzz around the team, prompting some locals to buy more tickets to the games.
So even if the franchise is making baby steps, baby steps are better than no steps at all.
Finally, in response to anyone out there who thinks that our willingness to call it like we see it (or repeating the dire observations of local writers and/or employees of the team) constitutes a “cheap shot” or proof that we “hate Jacksonville” or “hate the Jaguars,” we need to be clear on our views. Jacksonville is a great town, and the Jaguars are a potentially great franchise playing in a very nice facility. We hope the team stays in Jacksonville over the long haul, and that it thrives.
But with two viable projects in L.A. aimed at bringing a team back to town and increased talk of a team eventually landing in London, it’s hard not to regard any franchise that is struggling to fill up its stadium — whether the Jags, the Buccaneers, the Rams, the Raiders, or the Bills — as potential candidates to be moved to cities in which all tickets would likely be sold, in good times and in bad.