Jacksonville ain’t Oxnard.
With the Cowboys struggling — and ultimately unable — to get 5,000 fans to show up for training camp in California, the Jaguars lured 52,961 to EverBank Field for the unveiling of video screens even larger than the Close Encounters mother ship that hovers over the surface where Jerry Jones’ team plays.
It wasn’t just about the video boards. Fulham F.C., the English soccer team owned by Jaguars owner Shad Khan, thumped D.C. United 3-0 in an exhibition match, followed by a free concert from Carrie Underwood.
But the real star of the night was the gigantic new screens, one at each end of the venue and both larger than a football field. (The picture accompanying this blurb shows an image that filled the prior video screen inside its much larger successor.)
It’s the latest one-up move in an era featuring NFL teams trying to outdo each other in the hopes of enticing fans to choose attendance in person over watching games at home. Eventually, look for the top of an entire stadium to be capped and wrapped with a 360-degree drive-in theater screen.
Other amenities that wouldn’t be practical in northern climates include the pools that have been installed at EverBank Field, giving fans an experience that definitely would be difficult to duplicate at home. Especially if they don’t have a pool.
Ultimately, the way to keep a stadium packed is to develop a team that contends for postseason berths on a consistent basis. Quietly, the Jaguars are working on that project, too.